Finalists Selected for New England Leopold Conservation Award
August 28, 2023
Four finalists have been selected for the 2023 New England Leopold Conservation Award.
Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the prestigious award recognizes landowners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water, and wildlife resources in their care.
Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 27 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In New England the $10,000 award is presented with New England Forestry Foundation, and American Farmland Trust-New England.
The finalists are:
Clarkridge Farm of Goffstown, New Hampshire. By rotationally grazing his beef cattle, Daniel King prevents soil erosion and improves forage and water quality. Other improvements include reseeding pastures with cool season grasses and legumes, and installing a new well and livestock watering system. King has also preserved prime wetland and wildlife habitat at his farm in Hillsborough County.
The Corse Farm Dairy of Whitingham, Vermont. Leon, Linda and Abbie Corse are organic dairy farmers who improve water infiltration with rotational grazing and no-till practices. Cattle lanes were installed to keep cattle away from wetlands and a stream to enhance water quality and wildlife habitat. Leon serves as a mentor in the national Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program. The Corses consult with a professional forester to manage 200 acres of forest land.
Jones Family Farms and Winery of Shelton, Connecticut. Terry H. Jones and family grow Christmas trees, strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins, and wine grapes. The multi-generational farm was an early adopter of crop rotations and cover crops to prevent soil erosion, protect water quality, and achieve healthier soils. The farm is a frequent collaborator for on-farm research trials to demonstrate how conservation practices lead to better yields and higher quality crops.
Sweetland Farm of Norwich, Vermont. Norah Lake grows orchard fruit, vegetables, and hay and raises pastured pork and poultry. Rotational grazing and cover cropping practices are used to improve soil health and reduce erosion. Wildlife corridors have been established along farm fields and riparian and wetland areas have been established and preserved. Invasive species are being eliminating from forests, and thousands of wildlife-friendly trees have been planted.
Earlier this year, owners of forestland and farmland in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont were encouraged to apply (or be nominated) for the award. Applications were reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and forestry conservation leaders. The award recipient will be revealed in October.
The first New England Leopold Conservation Award was presented in 2019. Last year’s recipient was John and Carolyn Wheeler’s Wheel-View Farm of Shelburne, Massachusetts.
The New England Leopold Conservation Award is made possible through the generous support of American Farmland Trust, New England Forestry Foundation, Sand County Foundation, Farm Credit East, David and Ann Ingram, and the Yale School of the Environment.
In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”
Sand County Foundation presents the Leopold Conservation Award® annually in 27 states with a variety of conservation, agricultural and forestry organizations. For more information on the award, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.
“It is more critical than ever that our natural lands support both local economies and the natural world,” said Bob Perschel, New England Forestry Foundation Executive Director. “The finalists for New England’s fifth Leopold Conservation Award all represent excellence in land stewardship for our region’s farms and forests.”
“These award finalists are examples of how Aldo Leopold’s land ethic is alive and well today. Their dedication to conservation shows how individuals can improve the health of the land while producing food and fiber,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and CEO.
“As the national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of the New England award finalists,” said John Piotti, AFT President and CEO. “At AFT we believe that conservation in agriculture requires a focus on the land, the practices and the people and this award recognizes the integral role of all three.”
LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD PROGRAM
The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. Sand County Foundation presents the award in California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont). www.leopoldconservationaward.org
AMERICAN FARMLAND TRUST
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through its No Farms, No Food message. Since its founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and supported thousands of farm families. www.farmland.org
NEW ENGLAND FORESTRY FOUNDATION
At the core of New England Forestry Foundation’s work stands the belief that both conserving forestland and practicing sustainable forestry are essential to preserving the beauty, prosperity, wildlife habitats, and unique character of our region for future generations. Our approach strives to serve and unite people and organizations across the region to support the long-term health of New England’s forests, and to guarantee their continued environmental, recreational, and economic benefits for all New Englanders. https://newenglandforestry.org/
SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION
Sand County Foundation inspires and empowers a growing number of private landowners to ethically manage natural resources in their care, so future generations have clean and abundant water, healthy soil to support agriculture and forestry, plentiful habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. www.sandcountyfoundation.org