It’s Awards Celebration Time!

Our Land Conservation Leadership Awards Celebration is upon us!  The Awards Celebration recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of individuals, policy makers, and land trusts who are working to protect the places that make Wisconsin special.

This Thursday, September 29th more than 250 of members of Wisconsin’s conservation community will gather together at Monona Terrace in Madison for the ninth time to celebrate this year’s honorees.  This year we are very pleased to present awards to:

Land Trust of the Year

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust – One of Wisconsin’s most productive and innovative land trusts.  To date they’ve protected nearly 5,000 acres of land in two of Wisconsin’s fastest growing counties while engaging young and old alike in education and management activities that serve as a model for all land trusts.

Policy Maker of the Year

Kathleen Falk – Kathleen stepped down as Dane County Executive this year after 14 years of service. Previously, she served 12 years as Wisconsin’s Public Intervenor and, among many other accomplishments during an impressive public service career, was a driving force behind the landmark land protection agreement surrounding the expansion of Hwy 12.

Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation

Alan Sweeney – Alan is a farmer from Rock County, has been a leader in developing the county’s PACE Program, serves as a County Board Supervisor, and chairs the county’s PACE Program Committee.

Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation

Jim Matson – Jim recently retired from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection after 36 years of service, including 28 as chief legal counsel.  Jim was a driving force within the agency on the Working Lands Initiative.

Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award

Elward Engle – Elward, who began an impressive career with the Wisconsin DNR in the 1950s, is credited by landowners, farmers, DNR board members, land trusts, and agency colleagues as one of the most hard-working and humble of land champions.  During his career with DNR and continuing through today, he has been an invaluable part of protecting some of northeast Wisconsin’s most significant natural treasures.

As it is every year, the 9th Annual Land Conservation Leadership Awards Celebration will be an excellent opportunity to recognize the power of committed citizens and offer inspiring examples of conservation success.  But that’s not all.

Businesses and individuals have generously donated several items to Gathering Waters Conservancy’s silent auction.  This is where the fun begins!  To strategize your bidding before you arrive, take a moment today to check out our great Silent Auction Catalog.

Whether you’re interested in picking up some tickets to a Badger game, looking for a great getaway, or thinking about getting your holiday shopping started early, our silent auction has the right item for you.  All proceeds benefit Gathering Waters.

Want to become a sponsor of one of Wisconsin’s premier conservation events?  There’s still time.  Sponsors of the Awards Celebration not only show their support of Wisconsin’s conservation leaders, but they also have the opportunity to be prominently recognized in the event’s promotional and informational materials, reaching a broad, statewide audience.  For information on how to make a donation for this year’s event, contact Sara Dekok at

Interested in attending?  Tickets are going fast, but there are a few left.   To RSVP, email with Awards Celebration in subject line.  Please be sure to include the first and last names of all who will be attending.  The price of admission is $25 per person.  To pay, mail in a check, call with your credit card info, or pay at the door with cash, check or credit card.

The Awards Celebration has become a don’t-miss for Wisconsin’s land conservation supporters.  We hope to see you on Thursday at Monona Terrace!