21-0212 Habitat Exchange Volunteer Hours

Amendment to I03-E2 Single-Family Homes

QUESTION

For this exception, I have asked that ILFI honor my 100+ hours that I had done for the local area Master Naturalist Chapter (as opposed to a land trust).

For information on TMN, please refer to the following website:

https://txmn.org/alamo/

The mission of the group (from the website):

"The mission of the Alamo Area Chapter is to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers who provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within our community for the state of Texas.

-Enhance existing natural resources education and outreach activities by providing natural resources training at the local level, thereby developing a supply of dedicated and informed volunteers

'Develop a Texas Master Naturalist volunteer network that can be self-sufficient.

A Texas Master Naturalist is a well-trained Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension certified volunteer who is passionate about the natural world and is eager to share his or her knowledge and experiences with others. Texas Master Naturalists serve their local community by assisting with activities that involve education about the preservation, restoration, and conservation of natural resources."

The hours that I had spent within this organization were spread among many different tasks, i.e. Golden Cheeked Warbler Bird Surveys at Guadalupe River State Park, Board member participation, facilitating new trainee sessions, and attending continuing education "training" sessions, among others.

Although the group is not a "land trust" it is meant to help create a corps of local citizen scientists that can help support local parks, research and training specifically around regional open spaces and parkland. This definitely seems in keeping with the spirit of the imperative.

An hour summary has been attached - the records of these hours are kept/managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife (the TMN program is under the umbrella of TPW) and there is no clean way to print/export these from the online portal so they have been copied/pasted into word. Hopefully it is somewhat legible.

ANSWER

The proposed organization is approved as a recipient of volunteer time for this project (PT- 9056872108) pursuant to Habitat Exchange exception I03-E2 Single-Family Homes. However, the Institute is amending the formerly broad language of the exception to more clearly reflect its intent, below.

The project team is advised that when the volunteer hours are submitted for audit, a different format should be used, as the document attached to the Dialogue post unfortunately was not legible.

I03-E2 Single-Family Homes is amended as follows:

In lieu of a financial contribution, the owner and/or others living in the home may volunteer a minimum of 100 volunteer hours sometime during the duration of project design, construction, and performance periods

with an approved land trust that is actively responsible for the purchase and/or permanent easement, as well as ongoing stewardship, of conservation tracts of land in excess of 100 acres.

Alternatively, volunteer hours may be worked with a nonprofit conservation organization whose mission and work are directly focused on increasing the area of protected high value, intact habitat, even if the conservation organization is not responsible for holding and stewarding land under permanent conservation easement. Any such conservation organizations that do not meet the definition of approved land trusts must be pre-approved through the Dialogue.

The alternative path in this exception is meant to acknowledge that nonprofit organizations other than land trusts can have a direct positive impact on efforts to enlarge the area of protected, healthy ecosystems. Examples of allied efforts that align with Imperative intent include: direct on-the-ground stewardship of protected lands, acquisition negotiations, legal services in support of specific land protection transactions, field research that informs priority acquisitions or stewardship techniques, and advocacy or funding that enable protection of specific geographic areas.

The owner must provide official records from the land trust or conservation organization documenting the name(s) of the volunteer(s) as well as the dates and hours of work. Owners hoping to comply with this exception through a nonprofit organization that is not a land trust are strongly encouraged to submit the proposed alternative organization for approval prior to engaging in the volunteer hours. When using this exception, the Basic Documentation otherwise required to meet this Imperative does not need to be submitted.

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