About the Award
Aldo Leopold, whose writings and land ownership inspire Sand County Foundation’s devotion to the cause of private landowner conservation leadership, wrote that the landscape of any farm is the owner’s portrait of himself. The Leopold Conservation Awards honor landowners who work ceaselessly to paint beautiful landscapes across our nation.
The Leopold Conservation Awards recognize landowners actively committed to a land ethic. Working with prominent state conservation partners, Sand County Foundation presents the award, which consists of $10,000 and a Leopold crystal, in settings that showcase the landowners’ achievements among their peers.
The Leopold Conservation Award is a productive investment in private lands conservation. The $10,000 that accompanies each award would not go very far as a direct investment in a conservation project. However, by using it to highlight, nationally, the outstanding stewardship being practiced by exemplary landowners, the award program indirectly leverages hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvements to natural resources by a growing array of private landowners who make measurable, lasting enhancements to the land, water, and wildlife in their care.
The Leopold Conservation Award program has several positive outcomes. First, it recognizes and celebrates extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation by private landowners. Second, it inspires countless other landowners by example. Third, it provides a prominent platform by which agricultural community leaders are recognized as conservation ambassadors to citizens outside of agriculture. Finally, the program builds bridges between agriculture, government, environmental organizations, industry, and academia to advance the cause of private lands conservation.
Sand County Foundation and its many partners and sponsors actively seek others to join this effort. The Leopold Conservation Award program offers corporate sponsors or individual investors an opportunity to align themselves with outstanding agricultural families, while helping to ensure that these landowner conservationists receive the recognition they deserve.
Although the specifics within each category may vary slightly from state to state, these are the base criteria that are used by an independent panel of agricultural professionals in each state to evaluate each application for the Leopold Conservation Award.