Mark Ackelson Receives National Conservation Award
For Immediate Release
Contact: James K. Wyerman
Director, Communications & Development
Phone: (202) 638-4725 x 310
Washington, D.C. - Mark Ackelson, president of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and active for years in protecting and restoring prairies, wetlands and woodlands, and in creating rail-trails, was announced today as the winner of the prestigious Kingsbury Browne Conservation Award. He is the second recipient of this honor, awarded by the Land Trust Alliance to recognize outstanding leadership, innovation and creativity in land conservation.
Ackelson was also named to serve in the Kingsbury Browne Fellowship at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy for 2008. In his role in this fellowship, named after Boston attorney Kingsbury Browne (1922-2005), Ackelson will engage in writing, lecturing, and mentoring associated with the Lincoln Institute, a Cambridge-based think-tank with a focus on land policy.
Both the award and fellowship were presented in Denver, Colorado at the Land Trust Alliance’s National Land Conservation Conference, the largest annual gathering of professional and volunteer conservation leaders in the US.
“I am proud to be part of a profession and movement that helps protect the environment while also enriching people’s lives,” Ackelson said. “We talk about land, but really our work is about people and communities that we work with to accomplish our shared goals. I am pleased to have had Kingsbury as one of my many mentors.”
Mark Ackelson joined the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation as one its original staff members in 1980 and has been its President since 1994. The foundation has helped protect nearly 100,000 acres of Iowa's prairies, wetlands, woodlands, watersheds and trail corridors. He helped found the Mississippi River Blufflands Alliance, Iowa Environmental Council, and the Resource Enhancement and Protection Alliance. Ackelson recently chaired the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy board.
Ackelson is also a board member and one of the founders of the Land Trust Alliance, the national umbrella group that leads the nation’s 1700 private land trusts, a diverse group of private nonprofit organizations conserving private land in each of their communities. Rand Wentworth, president of the Land Trust Alliance, said “Mark has been an inspiration to me and hundreds of others who have learned from his conservation wisdom, not just in Iowa but across America. His work is truly about community—preserving the clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and farms that give quality to our way of life.”
Kingsbury Browne and the Lincoln Institute had a long history. In 1980, as a fellow at the Lincoln Institute, Browne first envisioned a network of land conservation trusts, and convened conservation leaders through the Institute, which ultimately led to the formation of the national 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 and all done by voluntary agreement with landowners.
The Lincoln Institute began the Kingsbury Browne Fellowship in association with the Land Trust Alliance and its Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award in 2006. The first recipient of the fellowship and the award was Darby Bradley, president of the Vermont Land Trust. 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.
Click here to hear Mark Ackelson's acceptance speech. 8 min, 8 sec (7MB)
About The Lincoln Institute and The Land Trust Alliance
The Lincoln Institute 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.
The Land Trust Alliance is a national conservation group that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America. It works to increase the pace and quality of conservation by advocating favorable tax policies, training land trusts in best practices, and working to ensure the permanence of conservation in the face of continuing threats. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Alliance.