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Southern Colorado Conservation Awards Winners Announced!

Palmer Land Trust is pleased to announce the 2010 Southern Colorado Conservation Awards winners.  A Blue Ribbon Pannel selected this year's winners from nominations put forth by citizens living and working across southern Colorado.  Pannelists included Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner, Colorado Springs attorney Phil Kendal, Colorado Nature Conservancy Past President Kathy Loo, Puelbo Chieftain publisher Jane Rawlings, and El Pomar CFO Thayer Tutt.

Join Palmer Land Trust in recognizing our outstanding 2010 award winners on Wednesday, September 29, at the Antler's Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs.  The event begins at 5:30 PM.  Cost is $50.  Food, beer, and wine are provided.  This year's winners are as follows:

The Stuart P. Dodge Award     The Stuart P. Dodge Award honors an individual or organization for a lifetime record of conservation achievement. The award is inspired by Stuart P. Dodge, whose exceptional service to Colorado set a benchmark for conservation leadership throughout the state.

Winner: Judy Sellers

Judy Sellers is a landscape designer and garden writer with a passion for the natural world.  She has lived in Colorado for more than thirty years, exploring the backcountry on foot, ski, and bike.  During that time, she has been a conservation leader across the state, serving on the boards of The Nature Conservancy, Great Outdoors Colorado, the Trails and Open Space Coalition, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and other organizations.  Judy is the author of Colorado Wild: Preserving the Spirit and Beauty of Our Lands.

The Friends of Open Space Award     The Friends of Open Space Award honors an individual or organization for efforts that led to the protection of a significant property or landscape in southern Colorado.

Winner: Reeves and Betsy Brown and the Three R Ranch

Reeves and Betsy Brown make their home on the historic Three R Ranch in the foothills of the Wet Mountains near Beulah, Colorado. Using innovative ranching techniques coupled with constant monitoring of rangeland health, the Browns have turned the Three R. Ranch into a model for Holistic Range Management.  To ensure the future of their property as a ranch, the Browns put a conservation easement on their property with Colorado Open Lands and became advocates of this opportunity for other ranchers. They helped to establish and/or direct the work of several lands trusts across the State.  Their own ranch has become an environmental education site for students from Beulah, Rye, and Pueblo who come to learn about ranching, local food production, and conservation.

The Stewardship Award     The Stewardship Award honors an organization or individual who—through grassroots efforts, exceptional land management practices, educational programs, and/or by way of example—has positively impacted the land and the way members of our communities understand and respect their relationship to the land.

Winner: Mountain Park Environmental Center

Now in its second decade, the non-profit Mountain Park Environmental Center’s (MPEC) environmental education programs impact thousands of people each year.  MPEC’s flagship program is Earth Studies, which provides all 1,200 5th graders from Pueblo City Schools with 6 full days of outdoor-based education. Additional programs include a full schedule of Summer Camps for kindergarten thru high-school, Nature for Toddlers, Guided Hikes, and various workshops and lectures for adult populations.  In 2008, MPEC took over full management of Pueblo Mountain Park for the City of Pueblo, allowing MPEC to apply its stewardship ethic to on-the-ground land management of the park’s 611 acres. It began a renovation of the Horseshoe Lodge, transforming a historic community asset into a “green” facility that is now serving the community as a hub for outdoor programs. Green building components, composting toilets, and a biomass heating system compliment the historic renovation.

The Innovation in Conservation Award     The Innovation in Conservation Award honors an individual, group, project, or program that has advanced the cause of conservation by developing new conservation models, creating new conservation funding mechanisms, and/or implementing unique conservation partnerships that protect our natural heritage.

Winner: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo continues to sustain fascinating and unique learning environments as they promote wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship.  The Quarters for Conservation program inspires guests to become environmental stewards as they learn about projects being supported by the Zoo and then cast their vote with a “quarter” token that is given as part of their admission fee. This program has brought measurable support to local butterfly habitat restoration efforts and the Black-footed ferret Species Survival Plan. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of only three zoos in the nation to bring this innovative program to its guests. Since the introduction of this program in 2008, Quarters for Conservation has raised more than $200,000 as guests vote, one quarter at a time, to support local and global conservation efforts.