The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, bestowed on land conservation champion and former Teton Regional Land Trust executive director Michael Whitfield the distinguished Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award.
The award, scheduled to be presented in Pittsburgh during the welcome dinner of Rally 2018: The National Land Conservation Conference, honors “an outstanding individual whose vision and creativity have resulted in extraordinary accomplishments for land conservation and the land trust community.” Named after the conservationist who inspired the Alliance’s founding in 1982, the award ranks among the organization’s highest honors.
“At a time when many land trusts in the West were really asking the question, ‘Should we be working on community-based conservation or should we be focused on landscape-level conservation,’ Michael was one of the first people answering that question with, ‘Both. We should be doing both things,’” said Wendy Ninteman, the Land Trust Alliance’s Western director. “That passion and that commitment and that integrity are really contagious.”
Whitfield will serve in the Kingsbury Browne Fellowship at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy for 2018-2019. For the fellowship, Whitfield will engage in research, writing and mentoring with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a think tank devoted to land policy that’s based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Now retired, Whitfield long served as executive director at Teton Regional Land Trust before coordinating the Heart of the Rockies Initiative to expedite private land conservation in the West.
“The collaborative planning effort, capacity building and capital fundraising for the Heart of the Rockies Initiative brought together land trusts in three states and two Canadian provinces in the Northern Rockies,” said Andrew Bowman, the Land Trust Alliance’s president. “Congratulations, Michael, and thank you for everything you’ve done for our community.”