2011 Land Conservation Leadership Awards

The dynamic and productive people who make up Wisconsin’s land trust community are far and away the best part of working with GWC.  We are quite often in awe of the commitment, passion, and tenacity with which the 50 or so land trusts pursue their collective missions to protect the places that make Wisconsin special.

And once a year we’re humbled and honored as the GWC Awards Selection Committee reviews nominations for our Land Conservation Leadership Awards.  Our Annual Celebration is planned for Thursday, September 29th.  This year’s decision was particularly challenging as the committee reviewed the most nominations we’ve ever received.  While many were worthy, the following winners stood out…

2011 Gathering Waters Conservancy Land Conservation Leadership Awards

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.

Our annual Land Conservation Leadership Awards Celebration recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of individuals, policy makers, and land trusts who are working to protect the places that make Wisconsin special. The awards honor the power of committed citizens and offer inspiring examples of conservation success.  Please join us this year on Thursday, September 29th to honor these deserving recipients.

*GWC thanks the 2011 Awards Selection Committee including Bill Berry, Stevens Point; Rita Hayen, River Hills; Trish Stocking, Madison; and GWC Executive Director Mike Strigel.