We rely on financial contributions to supplement its operations and support the long term stewardship of over 130,000 acres of scenic open space.
We are a charitable organization as defined by the IRS and all gifts are tax deductible.
Interested in protecting Maryland’s natural areas and landscapes? Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) is looking for volunteers who are passionate about land conservation to work in our office or in the field as Land Steward Volunteers.
As one of the oldest and most successful land trusts, we have protected more than 135,000 acres with more than 1,100 conservation easements. Each conservation easement is protected forever and requires yearly visual assessments to monitor for compliance. With a small staff of 10-12 employees, we rely on volunteers to complete important office tasks and to serve as our eyes and ears on many of the protected properties throughout Maryland.For more information on volunteer opportunities
visit the Volunteer page.
Contributions For Stewardship
Landowners donating a conservation easement to the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) are protecting land by giving up most rights to develop their land in perpetuity – a very long time.
For our part, our obligations are equally significant and long lasting: to protect the conservation values of each property and carry out the easement donor's intent to preserve their heritage and values for protecting their property. We are permanently responsible for the monitoring and stewardship of conservation easements entrusted to us.
Monitoring easement properties and stewardship require considerable resources, especially as the number of conservation easements held by us tops 1,000. Expenses include staffing, transportation, data management, communications, and imaging and mapping technologies. We must maintain the capability to perform these duties 10, 20, even 100 years into the future. Stewardship of some properties incurs expenses and obligations not covered by State funding. Your donation will help us preserve properties that are protected forever.
Please help protect our conserved properties by making a tax deductible contribution. Send your check to Maryland Environmental Trust 100 Community Place Crownsville, MD 21032. You can make a contribution in the memory of a loved one or in honor of someone you admire. Donations may be restricted to our Stewardship Fund or unrestricted and used for general operations.
If you are interested in donating a gift of stock, please contact our Director. All gifts to Maryland Environmental Trust will directly support our stewardship efforts to preserve unique and special places. Your donation will be managed by us, separately from our state funding.
How much does stewardship cost?
Monitoring activities can cost between $100 to $500 per year per easement. Significantly more is needed if legal action is required to uphold the terms of the conservation easement.
Request for Easement Donor Stewardship Contributions
We ask every easement donor to consider making a monetary contribution in addition to an easement gift. The suggested contribution is $5,000 per easement donation. The contribution can be made as a lump sum at the time of donation, or in installments over a period of five years (we can furnish a pledge agreement for this purpose). Under IRS rules, such a contribution is deductible as an expense associated with the easement gift.
Our decision to accept any proposed easement is made independent of the donor's choice to make a stewardship contribution or not. A potential stewardship contribution will NOT influence our decision to accept, or not accept, a conservation easement.
How We Handle the Easement Donor Stewardship Contribution
Money contributed to us to support easement stewardship will be tracked by donor, Maryland Environmental Trust will acknowledge the contribution in writing, and the money will be deposited in our Stewardship Fund, a separate non-state account available only to us. The Fund assets will not be used by any other State agency, department, or unit, nor will they be transferred to the General Fund or any other fund of the State of Maryland. The contributions entering the account will be invested and managed according to our investment policies for our non-state funds.
If the easement donor chooses to defer the stewardship fund contribution, we will ask that the donor acknowledge this in writing, using and signing a pledge agreement to pay the contribution over a period of time, preferably not to exceed five years. A copy of the pledge agreement will be maintained in our financial records and in the Maryland Environmental Trust easement file for the donor's property(ies).
When the Easement is Donated Jointly to Us and Another Land Trust
We maintain partnerships with many land trusts, and regularly accepts easement donations jointly with other organizations. In these cases Maryland Environmental Trust and the partner land trust will coordinate the request for a stewardship contribution during easement negotiations.