2021 news

Land Conservancy Names The Riverline Director

December 7, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy has named Jeff Lebsack of Buffalo as The Riverline Director. The hire follows a nationwide search to fill the new position for the planned nature trail and greenway near downtown Buffalo. With more than thirty years of experience in community-based engineering, design, and planning, most recently as a Senior Project Manager at Mott MacDonald, Lebsack brings a wealth of experience to the job. 

The Western New York Land Conservancy Completes Purchase of Grand Island Forest

November 16, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy is pleased to announce that it has purchased an ecologically significant 10.5-acre forest on Staley Road in Grand Island. This purchase is the result of the Land Conservancy’s ongoing Greenway / Grand Island Land Protection Program, which began in 2018. The program—and the purchase of this forest—was supported by the Niagara River Greenway Commission and the Town of Grand Island, and was funded by the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee. With this purchase, the Land Conservancy will establish the Funk Preserve, named after the landowners who chose to sell the property to the Land Conservancy. There is no trail system, so the property is not open to the public. It is adjacent to a 39-acre town-owned forest. A connecting trail system is possible in the future.

Western New York Land Conservancy to Host Ed Marx of the Wildlands Network at October 27 Virtual Event to Save the Allegany Wildlands

October 19, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy and the Friends of the Allegany Wildlands are working to save the Allegany Wildlands in 2021. This remarkable 200-acre forest, located only a few hundred feet from the Allegheny Reservoir near Allegany State Park, is home to a spectacular diversity of plants and animals. The community has until the end of this year to reach its fundraising goal of $879,000. Thankfully, it is more than halfway there. The community still needs to raise $330,000 to meet its fundraising goal. Thanks to three generous challenge gifts, the next $120,000 in donations will be matched 1:1. Once the goal is met, the Land Conservancy will purchase the land and keep it open as a publicly accessible nature preserve forever.

The Land Conservancy and The Riverline Join Partners to Highlight Plight of Insects Worldwide at Insectageddon-Buffalo

September 14, 2021: The Land Conservancy and The Riverline are teaming up with the Buffalo Museum of Science, Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm, Just Buffalo Literary Center, the Old First Ward Community Center, and local artists to present a special one-day event on insects. During the past 50 years, we’ve seen a precipitous decline in insect numbers worldwide—including iconic butterflies like the monarch. How do we stem this decline? Insectageddon-Buffalo will celebrate insects while raising awareness about the critical role they play on our planet. The event will also include a butterfly launch.

Providence Farm Collective, Western New York Land Conservancy Announce Joint $2.3 Million Capital Campaign

September 13, 2021: Providence Farm Collective (PFC) and the Western New York Land Conservancy are announcing a joint $2.3 million capital campaign to “Plant the Future of Farming” at PFC’s 37-acre farm it leases in Orchard Park. Once the goal is met, Providence Farm Collective will purchase the farm, protect it forever, add needed facilities, and sustain it into the future. They need members of the community to donate to the campaign by December 31, 2022

Western New York Land Conservancy Announces a $310,000 Matching Gift to Save the Allegany Wildlands

August 5, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy and the Friends of the Allegany Wildlands are announcing a $310,000 matching gift to save the Allegany Wildlands, a stunning 200-acre forest located only a few hundred feet from the Allegheny Reservoir near Allegany State Park. They need members of the community to donate to match the gift by the end of this year. Every dollar donated will be matched, dollar for dollar. The total fundraising goal to save the Allegany Wildlands is $879,000, and they have to secure that funding by the end of this year. Once that goal is met, the Land Conservancy will purchase the land and keep it open as a publicly accessible nature preserve forever.

Land Conservancy Naturalist Encounters Cicada that Only Exists in the Niagara Region

August 5, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy’s naturalist Erik Danielson has encountered a species of cicada endemic to the Niagara region: Okanagana noveboracensis. This rare sighting occurred while he was doing an inventory of the plants in the Niagara Gorge at Whirlpool State Park, an amazingly beautiful park in Niagara Falls managed by NYS Parks. Little is known about this cicada. Like many insects, it has no common name. But its scientific name would translate to something close to “New York Cicada.”

The Land Conservancy and its Design Partners to Present Concept Designs for The Riverline

July 19, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy and its award-winning design partners W Architecture, Hood Design Studio, and Green Shield Ecology will present their concept designs for The Riverline at a press conference at the Tewksbury Lodge Pavilion on July 19th at 11:00 a.m. These concept designs are the result of four years of public engagement, as well as community feedback from February’s initial concept designs and April’s first drafts. 

Land Conservancy Completes Purchase of Love Road Property On Grand Island

June 17, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy is pleased to announce that it has purchased a beautiful 44-acre forest on Love Road on Grand Island from the Buffalo Ornithological Society. The purchase was funded by the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee, and was supported by the Niagara River Greenway Commission.  With this purchase, the Land Conservancy will establish the Love Road Preserve. The property is not open to the public, but the Land Conservancy hopes to open a walking trail system in future years. 

Land Conservancy Welcomes Dr. Suzanne Simard, Pioneering Scientist and Author of Finding the Mother Tree

June 1, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy is thrilled to host Dr. Suzanne Simard, author of the memoir Finding the Mother Tree, for a livestreamed virtual event on June 16th. Simard will give a brief presentation on her pioneering work and participate in a conversation with Nancy Smith, the Land Conservancy’s Executive Director. Dr. Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she’s been compared to Rachel Carson and hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. 

Land Conservancy awarded grant to help create the Western New York Wildway

May 6, 2021: The Land Conservancy is pleased to announce that it has received a $25,000 grant from the Nature Conservancy in New York toward the planning of its proposed Western New York Wildway. The grant is part of the 2021 Resilient and Connected Network Grant Program. With this funding, the Western New York Land Conservancy will create the Western New York Wildway, a conservation plan for a new landscape-scale conservation initiative centered on protecting and connecting some of the most climate resilient lands in the Great Lakes region.

      WGRZ: "2 the Outdoors: Preserving the Allegany Wildlands, beyond

The Riverline: A First Look at Design Drafts

April 26, 2021: The Riverline is coming into focus with a design concept now emerging. The Western New York Land Conservancy and its award-winning design partners W Architecture, Hood Design Studio, and Green Shield Ecology are at the midpoint of a community centered conceptual design process. Building on four years of engagement, as well as community feedback from February’s initial concept designs, plans for The Riverline are taking shape as a place of refuge where nature has reclaimed this former rail corridor. 

The Land Conservancy and Its Design Team Seek Input on Early Design Concepts for The Riverline

February 12, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy and its design team will display early concept designs for The Riverline during a live-streamed YouTube event at 7:00 p.m. on February 24. During the event, Western New Yorkers will see design alternatives for The Riverline and hear from Barbara Wilks of W Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Walter Hood of Hood Design Studio.

The Land Conservancy Protects WBB Farm in Alden, NY

January 29, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy is pleased to announce that it has protected the award-winning WBB Farm in Alden, NY, owned by Brenda and Warren Bippert. As a result of this project, this important farmland will always be available for agricultural use. Agriculture and agriculture-based business play a vital role in Western New York, where small family farms like WBB have dotted the landscape for generations. These farms and businesses employ thousands of Western New Yorkers and pump millions of dollars into the local economy each year.

The Land Conservancy Receives Two Major Grants to Support the Concept and Schematic Design Phase of The Riverline

January 13, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy has announced two major grants to support the Concept and Schematic Design phase of The Riverline, part of the Land Conservancy’s efforts to transform the former DL&W rail corridor running from Canalside to the Buffalo River into an iconic, innovative, and inspiring nature trail and greenway. The First Niagara Foundation in partnership with KeyBank awarded $40,000 (in addition to a $20,000 grant earlier in 2020), and Moog Inc. awarded $75,000 to be distributed over three years.

Community Reaches Fundraising Goal, Western New York Land Conservancy to Purchase the College Lodge Forest

January 5, 2021: The Western New York Land Conservancy and the Friends of the College Lodge Forest are pleased to announce that the community has matched a challenge gift and reached their fundraising goal to save the College Lodge Forest. Located near Fredonia, NY, this spectacular forest has long been a cherished community gathering place in Chautauqua County. Once purchased, it will be permanently protected.

Read more media coverage: