Oct 16th, 2009

Land Conservation is Good for the Economy? Really!

by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

In preparation for the Gillette Forum –which is coming up in less than 2 short weeks– I was reading the ASLA’s blog, The Dirt.  Know what I found out?  America added 5,000 acres of parkland in the last year. That is alot of land! Also, I found out that, that investing in land conservation is good for the economy.  Now that was a surprise!

Cool thing: Will Rogers, President for the Trust for Public Land, is now blogging for The Huffington Post. He says  many people choose to conserve land for its beauty and for sentimental reasons. That makes sense.  But it may be  money that convinces Americans to do more land preservation.  Because, he says:

Turns out, for every dollar New Jersey has invested in conservation, the state has gained ten dollars in economic value. What a deal!…..

At stake is a $400 million bond to continue to keep the pace of preservation efforts that New Jersey voters have approved time and time again. This renewed investment will cost households $10 annually, and enable the protection of over 70,000 acres of land at a time when lower land values will give New Jersey voters a lot of bang for their bucks.

And for a family’s ten dollars each year, they not only invest in new parks and conserved lands; they invest in their own economy. Jobs are created when new parks are being built and landmarks are restored, and conservation leads to ecosystem benefits such as water purification, waste treatment, and flood mitigation. Economic benefits also come from fish and farm economies and outdoor recreation activity linked to open space.

Looks like I’ve got a good question to ask Douglas Reed, FASLA, and Thomas Woltz, ALSA, when the come speak at Lewis Ginter. How can we do this in Virginia? And how can we make those green spaces sustainable, public spaces that connect people back to nature,  creating beauty and beautiful sustainable landscape at the same time as we create jobs and help our economy?

Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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