Annual Award Celebrates Successful Land Conservation Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. 9/18/2006: 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.

This call for applications comes on the heels of a successful voter-approved funding season for counties. In 2005, an off-year election year, county voters approved over $660 million in new land conservation funding; previously, in the presidential election year 2004, voters approved $2.97 billion in new land conservation funding, nearly double any previous amount in history. County conservation funds approved represented 73 percent of all conservation funds approved in 2004, also a record, with the next highest being 56 percent in 2001.

Since 1988, there have been 370 county conservation finance measures on ballots nationwide. Of these measures, 276 have passed generating over $13 billion supporting investments in public open space, parks, watersheds, recreational lands and wildlife preserves.

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.

Last year’s winners were: Calvert County, MD; Santa Fe County, NM; Carroll County, MD; Volusia County, FL; Los Angeles County, CA; and Wake County, NC. 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 increasing need for land conservation programs,” said NACo President and Blue Earth County, Minn. Commissioner, Colleen Landkamer. “This award showcases the efforts of several county leaders and hopefully spur more county officials to recognize the importance of land conservation programs.”

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 November 17, 2006 and the awards will be presented as part of the NACo National Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. in March 2007.

Additional information and nomination forms can be accessed on the Web at either or or by calling 617-367-6200 x303.

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 its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than two million acres in 46 states. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations and corporations. Visit TPL on the Web at

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 3,066 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