Colorado 2008 Coleman Ranch Saguache Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

Photo Credit: Bill Gillette

The fifth-generation Coleman Ranch consists of irrigated meadows and mixed short- and tallgrass prairie in Saguache (about 200 miles southwest of Denver). The ranch, owned and operated by Jim and Frances Coleman, their son, Tim, and his wife, Teddi, has raised certified natural organic beef under the Coleman Natural brand for decades.

The Colemans have made numerous efforts to preserve the natural integrity of their ranch. They were the first family ranch in the Saguache Creek area to adopt a conservation easement. Their property supports a diversity of bird species, elk, mule deer, and cottontails. Saguache Creek, which flows through their ranch, provides habitat for Rio Grande chub and cutthroat trout. The Colemans permit limited hunting and fishing on their land to manage these populations. They utilize rotational grazing, cross-fencing, and water facilities to prevent over-grazing and improve ranch forage.

"To me, this is what conservation is all about, to take care of what nature gave us," Frances Coleman said.

The Colemans are involved in the agricultural community and civics. Jim served on the Canon City and San Luis Valley Cattlemen's Association, the Colorado Cattlemen's Association, and Resource Advisory Council for the Front Range Bureau of Land Management. Jim has been honored with Conservationist of the Year (Ranching Division) in 2001 and was named San Luis Valley Cattleman of the Year in 2005.

Above all, the Coleman Family appreciates the relationship Aldo Leopold envisioned between individuals and their land.

"To understand land, you've got to become part of it," Jim Coleman said. "When you do that, you'll learn that it's always changing."

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