Maryland Environmental Trust

Land Trusts

The Maryland Environmental Trusts Land Trust Assistance Program helps citizen groups in forming and operating local land trusts for the preservation of open space, farmland, woodland, and other natural and historic areas. Funding is from the Coastal Zone Management Program within the Department of Natural Resources. Land trusts are not-for-profit corporations designed to protect land from development, using conservation easements, gifts or purchases of land, limited development, conservation buyers, or promotion of existing local, state, or Federal easement programs. MET's Land Trust Assistance Program offers land trusts with cooperative agreements with MET the following technical assistance, training, funding and cooperative land management services:

  • TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE in starting a land trust, including organizing a board of directors, drafting articles of incorporation and by-laws, filing for tax-exempt status, record keeping, establishing conservation strategies and criteria, and other formation tasks;

  • TRAINING for directors and staff in operating a land conservation organization and conducting land protection transactions; including Maryland-wide and Mid Atlantic regional conferences;

  • HOLDING CONSERVATION EASEMENTS JOINTLY with land trusts as Co-Grantee, allows property owners who donate easements to both trusts to be eligible for all benefits available to MET donors; land trusts would also receive monitoring and enforcement assistance for these easements from MET and DNR's Office of the Attorney General; the cooperative agreement necessary for co-holding with MET is also a legal requirement for participation in Maryland's Rural Legacy Program;

  • JANICE HOLLMANN GRANT FUND - MET awards grants to local land trusts throughout Maryland to increase their education and outreach activities in pursuit of conservation easement donations. These grants may also be for operating expenses (such as staff, office expenses, and publications), landowner outreach, land transaction costs, and other needs. Applications are accepted one time per fiscal year, when announced by the Land Trust Assistance Coordinator. Click here for the Janice Holmann Grant Fund Application FY15.

  • TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PUBLICATIONS, including MET's Land Trust Assistance Manual, standard easement processing forms, model easement documents, and an education video on conservation easements for landowners. In addition, land trusts are eligible to participate in the Maryland Land Trust Alliance, an informal association of national, state, regional and local land conservation organizations working in Maryland.

The Aileen Hughes Award for Outstanding Leadership in Land Conservation

The Maryland Environmental Trust presents the Aileen Hughes Award annually to honor the late Aileen Hughes, a true leader in the conservation movement. Aileen was a supporter of womens' and civil rights, as well as the protection of our State's natural and cultural resources. Aileen was the President for many years of the American Chestnut Land Trust.

The Aileen Hughes Award is given to an individual representing a Maryland land trust for leadership, partnership and innovation in a conservation project.

Deadline for applications is March 16, 2015.
The Application for the 2015 Aileen Hughes Award

Applications may also be obtained from the Maryland Environmental Trust. Contact Michelle Grafton at or 410-514-7915.

Land Trusts & Land Conservation Organizations