When supporters look for updates on ALT’s newly-protected green spaces, trail news, upcoming events and environmental education efforts, they know they can be found in VISTAS. When a new project lands on ALT’s radar, land protection committee members can rely on a thorough, consistent rating system to help determine the green space’s value in the conservation landscape. Long-time supporter and former board member Tim Stanny is the individual we owe our thanks to for these resources.
Tim is a long-time supporter of ALT and served on the organization’s board for nine years. He became involved with ALT nearly 20 years ago when he was part of the Hampton Township Environmental Advisory Council. He was approached about a new land conservation nonprofit by one of its founding board members.
As someone who was involved with and aware of local environmental activity, Tim immediately wondered how he’d not heard of this interesting new effort in the region. He contacted then-Executive Director Roy Kraynyk and pitched an idea.
“ALT had to get the word out about its significant accomplishments and important mission in a newsletter,” Tim said. “I located some funding, and VISTAS was born in 2002.”
In addition to creating a legacy of storytelling that continues to inform our supporters, Tim’s input on important land attributes still guides our land protection work today. As the land trust grew and gained recognition, ALT needed a methodology to evaluate potential projects which had begun pouring in. Tim took several pages of guidelines that the Board had already adopted and condensed it down into a one-page document that could be used in the field. It’s what staff now refer to as “The Stanny Scale”.
The Stanny Scale, which is still used today, evaluates prospective acquisitions using the following criteria: public benefits (opportunities for biodiversity, recreation, water quality improvement, etc.), size, expansion and green space connection potential, community support, stewardship considerations, benefits to expanding ALT’s mission and exposure and contribution to existing conservation areas.
The ability to prioritize projects came in handy when ALT, during Tim’s time on the board, came upon one of its most unique projects in its 25-year history: Sycamore Island, which ALT learned of, explored, identified funding for and protected faster than any other project in its history. Tim said it’s still one of his favorite green spaces and was “probably the most satisfying” project.
“When I was on the Board, I used to say that we were the best conservation organization in Western PA that nobody knew about. ALT’s reputation has certainly grown in the past several years – but I still meet too many people who’ve never heard of it,” Tim said. “ALT is an extraordinary regional asset that more people in our region should support.”
While Tim’s service on the Board has created a lasting legacy, he has not let his work end. He continues to support and spread the word about ALT and about the importance of protecting one of our region’s greatest assets: its land.