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Nation's Largest Gathering of Land Conservation Leaders To Take Place October 12-15 in Nashville, TN

October 6, 2006 | Washington, D.C.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jim Wyerman
202-638-4725 x 310

Washington, D.C. - The Land Trust Alliance today announced the first annual Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award, given to Darby Bradley, President of the Vermont Land Trust and a tireless champion of conservation throughout Vermont and the Nation.  The award was made at the National Land Conservation Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, before a standing-room only crowd of 1500 people, including Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen.

The new award, named after Boston attorney Kingsbury Browne (1922-2005), will each year be given to an outstanding individual whose vision and creativity have resulted in extraordinary accomplishments for land conservation and the land trust community in the United States.

Browne is credited as one of the founder’s of America’s modern land trust movement, now a network of more than 1500 land trusts operating throughout the US.  Together these land trusts have conserved more than 34 million acres, more land than in all of the lower 48 states combined. 

In 1980, as a Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Browne first envisioned a national network of land trusts and persuaded the Institute to convene the first-ever gathering of land trust leaders from coast to coast. From that beginning, the Land Trust Alliance was founded in 1982 to lead the growing movement. It is fitting that the recipient of the award will receive a one-year fellowship at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy for writing, research, and teaching on a subject related to land conservation. 

Award recipient Darby Bradley said, “I am honored to be the recipient of this award from a conservation community which has accomplished so much.  Kingsbury Browne had a big vision: to transform land trusts from small, isolated groups to a national movement.  Twenty five years later, we obviously succeeded.”  He then noted, “Now, we too must pursue a big vision – one where in 25 years, the faces in this room will reflect the faces of all Americans – the whole community.  That is our challenge if we want to follow in the footsteps of Kingsbury Browne.”

The award was presented by Land Trust Alliance President Rand Wentworth and former President Jean Hocker, who commended Bradley as “a humble man who has dedicated his life to conservation.  It is truly inspiring to see how much one passionate and dedicated person can do over a relatively short period of time.”

Mr. Bradley, President of the Vermont Land Trust (VLT), has served 25 years on its staff and before that, worked with VLT’s founder to set up the organization and complete some of its early conservation projects.  A Dartmouth graduate, he received a law degree from University of Washington Law School in 1972, joined the Vermont Land Trust as counsel in 1981 and has served as its president since 1990.. During his tenure, VLT has helped landowners in communities throughout Vermont, to permanently protect more than 440,000 acres—roughly 7.5% of Vermont’s privately-owned land.

In the words of VLT’s Board Chair David Marvin, "When future generations look back at the early history of the Vermont Land Trust, they will understand how their legacy of conserved land is also one of people and communities connected to the land.  Their gratitude will join ours to Darby Bradley’s leadership for shaping that legacy with passion, commitment and humility."

Each year the award will recognize an outstanding leader in the field of land conservation, one who epitomizes the values Browne was known for—a sense of collaboration,  innovation and a generous spirit of mentoring new generations of conservationists.  Land Trust Alliance has established a new fund to make the award possible each year.

Said Wentworth, “When Kingsbury Browne died last year, we wanted to be sure his legacy would continue."  And the awards, in turn, will give the nation a chance to thank unique individuals who are leaving their world a better place—their own legacy to future generations and to the land.” 

About Land Trust Alliance:  Land Trust Alliance was formed in 1982 to advance the mission of land trusts.  Since its inception, Land Trust Alliance has trained thousands of conservation leaders, won new federal tax incentives for conservation on private lands, and developed standards and practices to professionalize and safeguard land trust work.  Land Trust Alliance connects land trusts, so that every land trust can benefit from the collective wisdom and innovations of the entire community.  It is based in Washington, DC with field offices in most regions of the country.

About Lincoln Institute: The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a leading research institution on land use and taxation issues based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, serves as a forum for scholars, policymakers, practitioners, citizens and journalists, integrating theory and practice through education, research, demonstration projects, publications and conferences. The Lincoln Institute has had a collaborative partnership with the Land Trust Alliance since the organization’s founding

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