Casey Markle: Uniting Homeowners and Land Trusts Through Conservation Easements | On the House #36

In this episode, host Gabriella Joustra is joined by Casey Markle, who has a diverse background in land conservation, environmental education, and analysis

The episode features Casey Markle, a conservation associate at Allegheny Land Trust. The podcast discusses various topics related to conscious living, land conservation, and environmental conservation. 

Meet Casey Markle

Casey Markle has a multidisciplinary background that includes experience in land conservation, environmental education, laboratory and field analysis, and environmental consulting. He pursued his education at Saint Vincent College, where he focused much of his water quality and conservation research.

As a Conservation Associate at the Allegheny Land Trust, Casey has a range of responsibilities, including managing land inquiries and conducting environmental due diligence. Allegheny Land Trust also supports land acquisitions, planning processes, grant applications, reaccreditation efforts, and organizational initiatives within the trust. Casey contributes to water quality work throughout Allegheny County, with a specific focus on the Big Sewickley Creek Watershed.

About the episode

Casey explains that conservation easements are legal agreements that permanently restrict development rights on land. He discusses how conservation easements can bring together homeowners and land trusts by allowing homeowners to retain ownership of their land while transferring development rights to the land trust. This approach helps conserve the land and its environmental value.

Homeowners who are interested in supporting conservation but may not be ready for a conservation easement can explore other options. They can contact their local land trust to inquire about opportunities for donations, volunteer projects, or implementing sustainable practices on their own land.

Homeowners can consider planting native trees and plants on their properties. This helps create wildlife habitat, improves air and water quality, and reduces temperatures on hot days without relying heavily on air conditioning.

It’s advisable to check with the county or municipality to find out if there are conserved lands open to the public. These areas may offer activities such as hiking, fishing, hunting, or environmental education. It’s important to respect any private property restrictions in these areas.

Those considering a conservation easement should research the available tax benefits and consult with experts. They may also benefit from obtaining an independent appraisal to understand the potential impact on property value. Conservation easements offer permanent protection while allowing for certain productive land uses.

Land trusts often welcome community nominations regarding important natural areas threatened by development. If you encounter them, you can report such areas to the land trust to contribute to their strategic protection planning.

Connect with organizations like Allegheny Land Trust and similar local organizations on social media. This will help you stay updated on events and initiatives related to conservation in your region. I

 If you’re interested in expanding access to green spaces and natural areas for all community members, consider volunteering your time or donating funds to organizations involved in land conservation efforts.

Use your experience abroad to evaluate your region’s environmental policies. To further your understanding and involvement in environmental initiatives, you can explore domestic volunteering, research opportunities, or travel experiences focused on sustainability topics.

In conclusion

The podcast provides valuable insights into the importance of conservation easements and the role of land trusts in protecting natural areas. It highlights that individuals without land can still support conservation through sustainable practices, donations, and community awareness raising. The podcast emphasizes the significant role played by land trusts in acquiring and conserving land while working collaboratively with private landowners.

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