Annual Award Celebrates Successful Conservation Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. 9/15/2008: A call for applications for a national award recognizing leadership in countywide land conservation programs was made jointly today by The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The County Leadership in Conservation Awards recognizes leadership, innovation, and excellence in local land conservation and park creation by county leaders across America.

Since 1996, 152 counties have prioritized land protection with new or reconsidered conservation programs. In that time these counties have passed 261 ballot measures, generating more than $14 billion for open space, parks, watersheds, recreational lands, and wildlife preserves. Moe than 76 percent of all county conservation ballot measures in the last decade have won voter approval. These numbers show that increasingly both voters and counties are acting locally to address issues that really matter to them, such as the protection of land and water resources. For more information, go to

To support and recognize the initiatives of counties promoting these substantial public investments, three awards will be presented each year to NACo-member counties based on small, medium, and large county populations. The awards will be presented in partnership with the National Association of County Planners and the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials.

The 2008 winners were: Park County, Colo.; Martin County, Fla.; Chester County, Pa.; Harris County, Texas; and Suffolk County, N.Y. These counties highlighted conservation models for the rest of America and demonstrate the future of county conservation.

“The American landscape will dramatically change over the next decades and communities cannot neglect today’s conservation challenges,” said TPL president Will Rogers. “Counties are taking charge of their conservation future and continuing recognition of the best efforts to think strategically about how best to grow is an exciting opportunity to highlight conservation models for the rest of America.”

“County officials understand the importance of effective land conservation programs,” said NACo President Don Stapley, supervisor, Maricopa County, Ariz. “This award showcases the efforts of several county leaders and will hopefully inspire others to develop land conservation programs in their counties.”

Applications will be judged based on a broad range of criteria including leadership, innovation, benefits to underserved populations, and benefits to quality of life and environmental quality.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, Nov. 21 and the awards will be presented as part of NACo’s Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. in March 2009.

Additional information and application forms can be accessed on the Web at either or

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization, which conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since it’s founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2.5 million acres in 46 states. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations and corporations.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Founded in 1935, NACo provides essential services to the nation’s 3,068 counties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public’s understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research, and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. For more information about NACo, visit