TPL Presents Volunteer Conservation Award (NH)

Portsmouth, NH, 4/6/2007: The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, announced that it has awarded the Annette and Kingsbury Browne Volunteer Conservationist of the Year honor to Irvin “Buzz” Caverly of Corinth, Maine. Caverly played a leadership role in the campaign to add Katahdin Lake to Baxter State Park.

Governor John Baldacci said, “Buzz deserves this award and a dozen more just like it. During our work to preserve Katahdin Lake, he was pivotal in moving the project forward. Without his leadership and devotion, we wouldn’t have been able to protect this vital natural resource and fulfill Governor Baxter’s vision.”

In January 2006, Governor John Baldacci, TPL, and the Maine Department of Conservation announced an opportunity for the state to purchase 6,000 acres surrounding Katahdin Lake, at the foot of Mount Katahdin. This area had been part of former Governor Percival P. Baxter’s original vision for Baxter State Park, but he was unable to acquire the lake in his lifetime. When the property finally became available for purchase, the project partners had only a year to raise the necessary $14 million to complete the deal.

Kingsbury Browne (1922-2005) was a long-time supporter and advisor to TPL in New England. He was a mentor, counselor and advocate for land conservation, not only in the region, but nationally. Throughout all of his efforts on behalf of open space preservation, Kingsbury enjoyed the enthusiastic support of his wife, Annette, who survives him today and resides in Kennebunkport, Maine. After Browne’s death in November 2005, TPL worked with Annette to establish the award, intended to honor a TPL volunteer who shares their enthusiasm and commitment to land conservation in the New England region.

As Co-Chair of the fundraising campaign with Governor Baldacci, Buzz Caverly logged over 2,000 miles on his truck and led 22 separate groups of potential donors on the 7-mile roundtrip hike to Katahdin Lake from April through November 2006. He sent out fundraising appeals, attended numerous meetings, wrote letters to the editor, and made 15 trips to the State House in Augusta to help win legislative approval for the project.

TPL Regional Director Whitney Hatch said, “Buzz’s love of Katahdin and his devotion to the task of adding Katahdin Lake to the park was an inspiration, both to those of us working with him and to those he asked to contribute to the campaign. Buzz seemed to take as much satisfaction from sharing his love of the lake as he did in completing the project, finding joy in sharing that magical lake, its view, and its peacefulness with each person he took there. Buzz is a conservation hero, not only because he got the job done for Katahdin Lake, but also because he inspired so many people to share in this amazing project.” Hatch noted that over 1,000 donors gave to the Katahdin Lake campaign.

Will Rogers, the national president of TPL, attended the awards dinner in Portsmouth yesterday. Rogers said, “Protection of Katahdin Lake is one of the most significant projects TPL has supported. We are humbled and impressed by the difference Buzz Caverly made in a conservation project of this scale. He is richly deserving of this award.”

Caverly, who worked for Baxter State Park for 46 years and who retired as its superintendent in 2005, commented at the project’s completion in December that, “The purchase of the Katahdin Lake lands is the most extraordinary event in park history since1962, when Governor Baxter purchased his last 7,000 acres to bring the size of the park to over 200,000 acres. Today, the final chapter of this book has been written, for his goal of 1921 has been achieved. This old ranger of 46 years is one happy camper.”

Two runners-up were also recognized yesterday: Ann McLane Kuster, who organized an effort in Hopkinton, NH to conserve the Dimond Hill Farm; and Marvin Schutt of Niantic, CT, who leads a volunteer organization working to create a nature preserve in the Oswegatchie Hills of East Lyme.

Kingsbury Browne was an attorney and influential conservationist who inspired the founding of the Land Trust Alliance. The Alliance is dedicated to preserving open space, and provides expert assistance and resources to more than 1,500 local and regional land trusts around the country. Browne served for many years as general counsel to the Alliance. A native of Brookline, MA, Browne retired as a partner at the Boston law firm of Hill & Barlow in 1991, and moved to Kennebunkport, Maine.

Annette Browne, a successful businesswoman and participant in philanthropic activities for many years in Boston, accompanied her husband on visits that took them to many of the newly formed land trust alliance organizations around the country. On many occasions, she supported Kingsbury’s open space preservation efforts, including welcoming a constant stream of visitors interested in discussing the open space preservation movement with Kingsbury at the Browne households in Brookline and Kennebunkport.

The Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2 million acres of land in 46 states, including more than 330,000 acres in New England and 95,000 acres in Maine. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information, visit