40 Acre Conservation League
The 40 Acre Conservation League is a Black-led nonprofit, land conservancy formed with the goal of fostering greater human connections to nature to increase community support for its protection.
We belong in nature and nature belongs in us!
Art & Culture
Wellness, ownership, & intergenerational empowerment
The three pillars of this organization’s mission are:
"We are leading a renaissance in the acquisition of pristine and productive lands"
We are leading a renaissance in the acquisition of pristine and productive lands, and intend to conserve more than 25,000 acres of land by 2030.
We are partnering with rural California counties to catalyze new recreational and economic opportunities in the great outdoors that improve regional prosperity and land management.
The 40 Acre Conservation League believes that conservation and economic justice are coequal, mutually inclusive goals. We are thrilled about the long-term prospects of offsetting GHG emissions and reducing atmospheric CO2 through a variety of carbon sink activities, and land management practices. However, economic empowerment through an environmental stewardship lens wake us up in the morning and inspire us to do this work.
At the conclusion of the American Civil War, Commanding General William Tecumseh Sherman convened 20 Black Ministers on the second floor of his headquarters in Savannah, Georgia. A question had arisen as to what freedom really meant for emancipated slaves. Without property, money, or an education, most did not have a clear or immediate path toward economic independence and thus were not “free” in purest essence of the word.
Approximately four days later, General Sherman issued Special Field Order 15 which set aside land along the Southeast coast so that “each family shall have a plot of not more than forty acres of tillable ground.” This plan later became known by a signature phrase: “40 acres and a mule.” However, President Andrew Johnson, who ascended to the presidency following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, effectively shattered the promise that was Special Field Order 15.
Numerous families make the decision to conserve their lands which may include donating their land to a local conservancy. by donating the land or placing the land under a conservation easement. Unfortunately, few Black families are similarly situated, lacking land holdings to pass down to heirs or conservancies.
Our goal is to increase recreational and economic opportunities for all Californians and to deepen an appreciation and understanding for the majesty of the Great Outdoors and rural living, with a focus on ensuring that Black families understand these opportunities.
And we are committed to advancing conservation, in parallel with these goals, through exposure to nature.
We’re on a mission to protect our environment and empower folks with access to recreational and economic opportunities on lands we acquire.
Learn more about what we are doing and how you can support!