Tired of seeing open space lands consumed by development? Help conserve Maryland's open spaces by volunteering with the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) to help further our mission of preserving the state's open lands.
Over 125,000 acres of land are protected through MET by permanent conservation agreements (easements). These protected lands are monitored to ensure that the original conservation values are permanently maintained.
We have two opportunities available.
- Office Volunteer:
This position helps with computer work and administrative support for our protected land monitoring program. Volunteers are needed at our office in Crownsville, MD to review and summarize background material, photocopy key documents, enter data and scan photographs to digital pictures. The information is essential to our field monitoring program to check that protected farms and forests remain undeveloped. Hours are flexible (daytime Monday through Friday), one-off and ongoing opportunities are available.
- Field Monitoring Volunteer:
This position visits properties to check compliance with easement restrictions to ensure that protected farms and forests remain undeveloped. Visits are made to significant natural areas, farms and forest land, waterfronts, historic viewsheds and scenic landscapes. Volunteers participate in a one day training session and agree to complete five or more visits. Volunteers should be over 20 years of age, physically able to walk over potentially rugged terrain and have their own transportation.
If interested in the office or field volunteer positions, email Michelle Johnson, Monitoring Program Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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, MET's 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. MET is 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 MET tops 1,000. Expenses include staffing, transportation, data management, communications, and imaging and mapping technologies. MET 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 MET’s conserved properties by making a tax deductible contribution. Send your check to MET 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 the MET Stewardship Fund or unrestricted and used for general operations.
If you are interested in donating a gift of stock, please contact MET Director Elizabeth Buxton. All gifts to MET will directly support our stewardship efforts to preserve unique and special places. Your donation will be managed by MET separately from our state funding.
Click here to read MET’s Gift Policy.
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. Read more...
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 (MET can furnish a pledge agreement for this purpose). Under IRS rules, such a contribution is deductible as an expense associated with the easement gift.
MET's 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 MET's decision to accept, or not accept, a conservation easement.
How MET Handles the Easement Donor Stewardship Contribution
Money contributed to MET to support easement stewardship will be tracked by donor, MET will acknowledge the contribution in writing, and the money will be deposited in MET's Stewardship Fund, a separate non-state account available only to MET. 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 MET's investment policies for our non-state funds.
If the easement donor chooses to defer the stewardship fund contribution, MET 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 MET's financial records and in the MET easement file for the donor's property(ies).
When the Easement is Donated Jointly to MET and Another Land Trust
MET maintains partnerships with many land trusts, and regularly accepts easement donations jointly with other organizations. In these cases MET and the partner land trust will coordinate the request for a stewardship contribution during easement negotiations.