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Jamie Williams, Pioneering Western Conservationist Receives National Conservation Award

October 12, 2009 | Washington, D.C.
Jamie Williams, Pioneering Western Conservationist Receives National Conservation Award

Jamie Williams of the Nature Conservancy, receives the Kingsbury Browne Award, at Rally in Portland, Oct. 12, 2009. Photo courtesy of Francesca Dalleo.


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Jamie Williams, Pioneering Western Conservationist Receives National Conservation Award

WASHINGTON, DC – Jamie Williams, The Nature Conservancy’s Northern Rockies Initiative Director, and a pioneer in collaborative conservation work in the West, was announced today as the winner of the Land Trust Alliance’s prestigious Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award.  He is the fourth recipient of this honor awarded by the Land Trust Alliance to recognize outstanding leadership, innovation and creativity in land conservation.  

Williams was also named to serve in the Kingsbury Browne Fellowship at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy for 2009.  In his role in this fellowship, named after Boston attorney Kingsbury Browne (1922-2005), Williams will engage in researching, writing and mentoring associated with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a Cambridge-based think-tank with a focus on land policy.

Both awards were presented in Portland, Oregon at the Land Trust Alliance’s Rally 2009: The National Land Conservation Conference, the largest annual gathering of professional and volunteer conservation leaders in the US.

“I cannot imagine a more meaningful award than from my friends in the land trust community for community-based conservation,” Williams said. “I am honored to be part of a movement that is re-defining conservation around local, collaborative efforts to conserve the land in ways that work for both wildlife and people.” Williams added, “Having grown up camping, hiking, hunting, and river running in Oklahoma and the Rocky Mountain West, my life’s passion has been about finding ways we can work together to sustain these natural habitats and special places for future generations.”

Jamie Williams joined The Nature Conservancy in 1992 and has earned a reputation for setting the standard for what it means to do “community-based” conservation. “Watching Jamie is amazing because he is able to accomplish so much land conservation through the power of friendship and understanding,” said Lynne Sherrod, Western Policy Manager at the Land Trust Alliance. “He is a great listener and uniquely able to gain the confidence of skeptical stakeholders so common ground can be achieved – especially in this area of the country where that can be a major challenge. He cares about the people as much as the land.”

Rand Wentworth, president of the Land Trust Alliance, said: “Rarely do you find someone like Jamie who not only recognizes the importance of what you accomplish by working together, but also recognizes the importance of how you do it. This skill has helped Jamie focus on landscape-scale conservation through incredible collaboration to make the most impact on preserving our natural habitats.”

For the past several years, Williams has been instrumental in bringing together conservation and community groups to protect important forest lands in the Northern Rockies, across Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Canada. Most recently he helped The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with the Trust for Public Land and local communities secure a deal with the major landowner Plum Creek to purchase 310,000 acres of timberland in western Montana, to protect it as working forests for wildlife, public access and sustainable timber management.

Williams was The Nature Conservancy's Montana state director for nine years, where he focused the program on conserving Montana's largest, most intact landscapes through strong community-based programs and private-public partnerships. He helped start and sponsor several collaborative land trusts groups focused on leveraging each other’s resources toward common conservation goals, including the creation of the Montana Association of Land Trusts and the Heart of the Rockies Collaborative. He started his work with The Nature Conservancy in 1992 as its Northwest Colorado Program Manager, where he spearheaded a community-based conservation effort to conserve not only the Yampa River, but the agricultural land base too. Before that he worked on the wild and scenic designation of the Farmington River in western New England, which was specially tailored for local management. A graduate of Yale University and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, he is a former instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and also a river guide.

Kingsbury Browne and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy had a long history together.  In 1980, as a fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Browne first envisioned a network of land conservation trusts, and convened conservation leaders through the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, which ultimately led to the formation of the national Land Trust Exchange (later renamed the Land Trust Alliance) in 1982.  Browne is considered the father of America’s modern land trust movement, a network of land trusts operating in every state of the nation.  Together these land trusts have conserved more than 37 million acres, an area the size of New England.

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy began the Kingsbury Browne Fellowship in association with the Land Trust Alliance offering its first Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award in 2006. Winners are chosen from a group of their peers, honoring lifetime contributions to the field of land conservation and work reflecting the values that Kingsbury Browne brought to his own seminal achievements.

Armando Carbonell, senior fellow and chairman of the Department of Planning and Urban Form at the Lincoln Institute, said he looked forward to having Jamie Williams serve as the Kingsbury Browne Fellow, as his work reflects many ongoing initiatives in regional collaboration and large-scale landscapes in the context of climate change. A recent publication, Working Across Boundaries, addresses the challenges of working with multiple stakeholders that Williams has been engaged in, Carbonell said.


About The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy publishes books and reports, holds workshops and seminars and conducts demonstration projects, evaluation and analysis on the use, regulation and taxation of land. Land conservation is a major theme of the Institute’s Department of Planning and Urban Form, chaired by Armando Carbonell.


About The Land Trust Alliance

The Alliance is a national conservation organization that works in three ways to save the places people love.  First, we increase the pace of conservation, so more land and natural resources get protected.  Second, we enhance the quality of conservation, so the most important lands get protected using the best practices in the business.  And third, we ensure the permanence of conservation by creating the laws and resources needed to defend protected land over time. The Land Trust Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and has several regional offices.   Visit

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