Submitted Friday, September 27th 2013 10:21 am by Timothy S. Jacobson
An Evening of Recognizing Conservation Excellence
GWC's Land Conservation Leadership Awards Program
By Tim Jacobson
Last night for what I think was the eighth year in a row, I attended the Gathering Waters Conservancy Land Conservation Leadership Awards Program
in the beautiful Monona Terrace building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
There was a parallelism between the legacy of visionary architecture of that building and its designer and the legacy of visionary conservation leadership in Wisconsin embodied in the awards presented at the event.
Organizations and individuals were recognized as land trust of the year, conservationists of the year, policy maker of the year, and with the Bud Jordahl lifetime achievement award for conservation.
The recipients of the latter award, Harold and Nancy Mead, were the publishers of Wisconsin Trails magazine from 1961 to 1998, and they were involved in the founding of the Sand County Foundation, the Leopold Memorial Reserve, and the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. In her remarks in accepting the award, Nancy Mead talked about how she and her husband were at the right place at the right time in a state filled with incredible conservation leaders. In the home state of Aldo Leopold and John Muir, they were fortunate enough to get to know conservation leaders such as Gaylord Nelson, and to participate in the world's first Earth Day.
Similarly, Tom Lyon, the recipient of a Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation, commented on Wisconsin author Ben Logan (a student of Leopold) and his book The Land Remembers: The Story of a Farm and its People. (Ben Logan, himself, was recognized with a Bud Jordahl Award at GWC's 2009 event.)
To be surrounded with hundreds of current conservation leaders and to be immersed in the tradition of so many past greats was truly special. We are all strengthened in our conservation efforts by the work that has been done, and is now being done, by so many committed and caring people. We are fortunate to be able to build on those fine traditions and ideals.
Gathering waters Conservancy does a marvelous job helping land trusts, landowners and communities protect the places that make Wisconsin special. They also do a great job highlighting the tremendous efforts of a wide variety of conservationists. The 50+ nonprofit land trusts around Wisconsin are fortunate to have a service organization like GWC.
The GWC Land Conservation Leadership Awards reminds us that we should regularly pause to celebrate those who have come before us, and those working now, to blaze trails of conservation excellence.
2013 AWARD RECIPIENTS
Land Trust of the Year – The Prairie Enthusiasts (with a special nod to Rich Henderson)
Policy Maker of the Year – Dick Steffes (retired DNR)
Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation – Dan Lemke, Plum Creek’s Senior Land Asset Manager
Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation – Tom Lyon
Conservationists of the Year – Dale Buser & Andrew Struck
Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award – Howard & Nancy Mead