Strategic Plan

Orenda is guided by its precisely focused Strategic Plan, grown from a richly interactive dialogue and analysis, which charts our goals, needs, priorities and actions through 2023. It is clear that few things matter more than protecting open space, fresh air, and clean water, for wildlife and human communities. Built infrastructure is overtaking wildlands. This means fewer acres remain in their natural state. At Orenda Wildlife Land Trust, our mission is simple: “…to preserve and protect open space for wildlife habitat, fresh air, and clean water.” Once you destroy a natural resource, it is very difficult to recover.

The word "Orenda", in the language of the Iroquois Indigenous people, means "extraordinary, powerful, life energy within all beings and their environment" and is illustrated in the Orenda Song of Praise. Together with our donors, Orenda owns or oversees over 650 acres of open space throughout Massachusetts.

Two baby robins just hatched

Our land portfolio consists of over 730 acres and is quite diverse. Sometimes we are gifted acreage, and other times we purchase land outright, and provide the seller with additional tax incentives. We have uplands, and lowlands, marshes and open grasslands, all of which shelter songbirds, birds of prey, pollinators including bees and butterflies, woodland creatures like squirrels and chipmunks, river otters, coyotes, foxes and deer, to name a few species!

Orenda is a proud member of The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Inc. We work closely with other land trusts and like-minded environmental organizations. Orenda is part and parcel of a vibrant community that treasures natural resources through public and private partnerships.

We believe in our mission. This organization lends its voice to conservation causes that create meaning and purpose in the communities we serve. We believe in long-term conservation strategies, not short-term and ineffective initiatives. The nationally-renowned Land Trust Alliance, of which we’re members, says that “conserved, well-managed land also provide protection from natural disasters, such as flood and drought while absorbing carbon and keeping it from the Earth’s atmosphere.” We agree. We think every inch of open space is worth conserving, and that land trusts are critical to any community’s well-being.

Orenda may be a smaller land trust, but we’re proud of our large-scale plans. Here’s where we’ve been, and here’s where we’d like to go through 2024:

Goal 1: Create a Wider Community of Land Givers

We will continue to work closely with individuals, families, corporations and organizations across private and public sectors. Our success will be measured in several ways: the amount of land Orenda can acquire, the amount of donations and grants we receive to purchase additional open space, and an increased awareness about our mission among informed stakeholders and newer friends.

Goal 2: Internal Growth

We’d like to ‘grow’ our Board of Directors to expand our capacity to uphold our mission. Orenda has an existing committed and strong Board. But like any organization, we’re looking to the future. Orenda has a decisive Executive Committee, and Committees on Development, Land Acquisition, Land Stewardship, and Finance. We’re a strong organization, but if we’re to meet the needs of an evolving world, we need to stretch our wings.

Goal 3: External Engagement

A progressive and engaged land trust cannot function in a vacuum. In addition to our membership in The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Inc., and the national Land Trust Alliance, Orenda is a partner in the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge, within which one of our sanctuaries is located. We work closely with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. One of the spotlight issues is the so-called Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge. This project involves ten Refuge Acquisition Focus Areas in six states—all of New England and part of New York—that fosters conservation, management, and maintenance of shrub land and young forest habitats including pine barrens and conservation areas that provide food and shelter for endangered New England Cottontails, American woodcock, ruffled grouse, monarch butterflies, box turtles and scores of shrub land-dependent species. These species include declining priority breeding land birds such as prairie warbler and blue-winged warbler, and federally-listed threatened and endangered species, like bog turtles and red-bellied cooters.

The open spaces left to our care require human intervention. We manage our properties, when it’s necessary to do so, to protect acreage from disease, expand wildlife corridors, and create better habitat for plants. We leave land alone, unless we need to manage an area for the protection of species including the endangered New England Cottontail, and other fire-dependent creatures, through ‘controlled burns’ that also reduce fuel loads in our forests.

A second focus will be continuing Orenda’s innovative public outreach programs across platforms that include mainstream classrooms, community venues and the very lands we protect. These will include nature walks, public policy forums on emerging relevant issues, and fun fundraising events like a movie night at a local theater. We have a lot planned for the future, and beyond. Please consider becoming a member of the Orenda Wildlife Land Trust. Join our quiet movement that seeks positive changes for humans and wildlife through conservation.