Finalists named in Colorado Leopold Conservation Award program

Mar 1, 2013
by WLJ

Sand County Foundation, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., and Peabody Energy were proud to announce the finalists for the 2013 Leopold Conservation Award in Colorado on Monday, Feb. 25. The award recognizes private landowner achievement in voluntary conservation.

The finalists are as follows:

• Wagon Wheel Ranch of Yuma

• LK Ranch of Meeker

• Visintainer Sheep Co. of Craig

Wagon Wheel Ranch: The Wagon Wheel Ranch, located in Yuma County, is operated by Kenny and Jody Rogers and is a multigenerational farm with three generations still actively involved.

LK Ranch: The LK Ranch is a cattle ranch in Rio Blanco County. It is cooperatively owned and managed by Lowell and LoAnn Klinglesmith and their youngest son Lenny and his wife Jackie Klinglesmith.

Visintainer Sheep Co.: Visintainer Sheep Co. is a sheep and cattle ranch in Moffat County. Dean Visintainer and his son Gary jointly run the operation.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

Award applicants are judged based on their demonstration of improved resource conditions, innovation, long-term commitment to stewardship, sustained economic viability, community and civic leadership, and multiple use benefits.

“All three of our Colorado finalists are tremendously committed to stewardship of natural resources and to sharing what they’ve learned with the broader community,” said Brent Haglund, president, Sand County Foundation.

The 2013 recipient, who will receive $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold, will be announced March 19. The award will be presented at the CCA Annual Convention on June 17 in Breckenridge.

“Colorado’s rich heritage of conservation through ranching is epitomized by these families’ dedication to the land, water and wildlife. Their stewardship is testament to Leopold’s values and to the untold number of agriculture producers who lead by example when it comes to the environment,” said Terry Fankhauser, executive vice president for CCA.

The Leopold Conservation Award is possible thanks to generous contributions from many organizations, including Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., Peabody Energy and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. — WLJ