Along with kicking off our 25 years of land conservation, our recent Treasured Places event provided the opportunity to recognize our 2016 Landowner, Volunteer and Partner of the Year.
Gordon Bailey, our 2016 Landowner of the Year, has restored native prairie, turning acres of resource-intensive row crops into an oasis of big bluestem and a succession of flowering plants. His Zumbro River land now provides exceptional wildlife habitat that also does a great job of handling all the rainfall that's being experienced in southeastern Minnesota. The deep roots of prairie plants hold water so that the surface soil won't run off into the river, ultimately keeping that soil out of the Mississsippi River.
Our 2016 John Peck Volunteer of the Year is Rob Axtmann, who has devoted countless hours monitoring conservation easements as well as mentoring new volunteer monitors. He happens to have a strong background in land trusts. While certainly not necessary, Rob's experience and professionalism is put to great use in the Land Trust's monitoring program.
Finally, our 2016 Partner of the Year is the Three Rivers Park District. We've worked with these fine folks for many years now, with Gale Woods Farm, Kingswood Park, Von Blon Woods and other projects shining examples of how non-profits and park districts can work in concert to ensure that open spaces, scenic beauty, water quality and wildlife habitat are protected forever while still providing access to the public.
The Minnesota Land Trust exists because a few people cared enough to devote themselves to land conservation 25 years ago. And now, decades later, new people emerge to take over the responsibilities (and priveleges!) of private land conservation.
Kudos to these fine folks, and here's to 25 more years of incredible conservation!