Balancing Conservation and Development in Rural New York – the Role of the Finger Lakes Land Trust

Perspectives in Global Development: Spring 2023 Seminar Series


Since it was established in 1989, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has worked cooperatively with landowners and local communities to conserve more than 29,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped shoreline, rugged gorges, mature forests, and scenic farmland. The organization today owns and manages a network of 50 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds more than 150 perpetual conservation easements on lands that remain in private ownership.

As the organization increased its capacity in recent years, it has also increased the scope of its activities – collaborating with a variety of public and private sector partners to address a range of issues including harmful algal blooms, sustainable economic development, and the siting of renewable energy facilities.

This presentation will highlight pressing issues facing the region, in terms of balancing conservation and economic development, as well as possible solutions. It will also show how land and water conservation efforts can serve as a meaningful contributor to sustainable economic growth.

About the speaker

Andy Zepp is Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Land Trust, an Ithaca-based non-profit conservation organization that works cooperatively with landowners and local communities within the 12 counties of the Finger Lakes Region. The organization owns and manages a network of nature preserves while holding conservation easements on privately owned lands and facilitating the acquisition of land by public conservation agencies and other non-profit organizations.

Andy has worked in the conservation field for more than 30 years, including service as Vice President for Programs for the Land Trust Alliance in Washington, DC and as Associate Director for The Nature Conservancy’s Central & Western NY Chapter. He has also served on a number of planning, conservation, and grant making boards in the public sector. Andy is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a B.S. in Industrial & Labor Relations and an M.P.S. in Natural Resources.

About the seminar series

The Perspectives in Global Development seminars are held Wednesdays from 12:25 – 1:15 p.m. eastern time during the semester. The series will be presented in a hybrid format with some speakers on campus and others appearing via Zoom. All seminars are shown in Emerson Hall 135. Students, faculty and the general public are welcome to attend. The series is co-sponsored by the Department of Global Development, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the School of Integrative Plant Science as part of courses GDEV 4961, AEM 4961, NTRES 4961, GDEV 6960, AEM 6960, and NTRES 6960.

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