What's at Stake
Approaching either conservation or preservation with tunnel vision can leave important resources vulnerable. By viewing a place too narrowly, communities might save a landmark house but sell off the land around it, allowing development that will compromise the building's historic setting as well as the land's value as open or natural space. Lacking any interaction with the preservation community, personnel working with a farmer to keep land in agricultural production might have no awareness of basic tools or information to offer when the conversation turns to how the farm's historic barns can be rehabilitated to serve the operation.
Talking about places holistically can be one of the best ways to build broad support, both to fend off threats and to plan for the future. This approach has been at the heart of protecting some of the most treasured places in the country, including many projects profiled in National Trust programs. Great successes that received National Trust Honor Awards included Western Pennsylvania Land Conservancy's extraordinary stewardship of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, as well as work to protect the land and buildings of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in Maine by a large coalition of conservation and preservation organizations. Many sites listed among America's 11 Most Endangered Places through the years were saved (or are currently being addressed) by preservationists and conservationists in close partnership.