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Community Partnership

Champion for Community

Maria Viterisi, North Central Region

Protecting our land for future generations

Her love and passion for the outdoors led to the perfect volunteer role for Wealth Management Trust Administrator Maria Viterisi. In 2005, Maria was looking for a place to volunteer, and Sycamore Land Trust (SLT) was in need of a board member. For Maria, committing her time to SLT – an organization with a mission to preserve our land and wildlife – made sense.

SLT is a regional nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the disappearing natural and agricultural landscape in 26 Southern Indiana counties. Maria currently serves as SLT board president and is
active on the development, nominating and investment committees. She has also volunteered for property work days, promotional events and silent auction committee.

Using a practical, nonpolitical approach, SLT works with private landowners to conserve family lands and important natural areas. They own land through donations, bequests, or outright purchases, and hold conservation easements for private landowners. As a result, more than 6,000 acres are protected (with a goal of 20,000 by 2020); 20 rare and endangered animal species are found on protected properties; 55,000 trees have been planted since 2000; and three SLT properties are state-dedicated nature preserves. As part of SLT's 3-year strategic plan, one goal is to open a satellite office in Evansville, Ind. 

In the past several years, SLT has garnered the following awards and recognition:

  • 2007 - Arbor Day Project Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation
  • 2007 - Indiana Achievement Award for Impact
  • 2009 - Indiana Governor’s Award for Outreach and Education
  • 2010 - February 22-28 declared SLT week in Indiana by Governor Mitch Daniels

Says Maria, “If we don’t protect the land now, there will be nothing left protected for future generations. SLT cannot save the world, but we can do our part by protecting the land here in Southern Indiana. It’s not just the land that is being protected. It’s also wildlife habitat, watersheds, family farms, trees, wetlands and prairies. Playing a role in protecting this land forever for future generations, simply said, is doing my part to save the world a little bit at a time.”

Sycamore Land Trust Fact Sheet