Award Celebrates County Conservation Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/19/2005 – A call for nominations 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 nomination comes on the heels of the most successful voter-approved funding season ever for counties. In 2004, county 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 1996, there have been 262 county conservation finance measures on ballots nationwide. Of these measures, 203 have passed, supporting investments in public open space, parks, watersheds, recreational lands and wildlife preserves.

To support and recognize the initiatives of county leaders promoting these substantial public investments, three or more awards will be presented each year to officials (elected or appointed) representing governments of 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: Burlington County, NJ; Dakota County, MN; Gallatin County, MT; Pima County, AZ; Pinellas County, FL; and Platte County, MO. These counties highlighted conservation models for the rest of America and demonstrate the future of county conservation.

“County officials around the country are leading efforts to protect open space and conserve land critical to their communities’ quality of life,” said NACo President and Umatilla County, Ore., Commissioner, Bill Hansell. “This award showcases innovative county land conservation programs and provides best practices to help more counties accomplish conservation goals.”

“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.”

Nominations 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 18, 2005 and the awards will be presented at an annual conservation awards program, as part of the NACo National Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. in March 2006.

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 2 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 a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical and public affairs assistance to county governments. Created in 1935, NACo continues to ensure that the nation’s 3,066 counties are heard and understood in the White House and Congress.