The application deadline for the 2021 Montana Leopold Conservation Award – one of conservation’s most prestigious awards – is set for March 15. The Montana portion of the national award is presented by the Sand County Foundation in partnership with American Farmland Trust and state partners the State of Montana and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Rangeland Resources Committee.
The award is based on five criteria outlined as:
1. Conservation Ethic – Describe how the nominee has voluntarily exceeded the minimum obligations of regulation to enhance and conserve natural resources.
2. Resilience – Describe the business and conservation methods used by the nominee to make the operation productive into the future.
3. Leadership and Communication – Describe significant efforts the nominee has made to share his/her conservation ethics and techniques with others inside and outside of agriculture. Describe community service, positions held, leadership roles and media outreach.
4. Innovation and Adaptability – Describe how the nominee has taken risks by utilizing or experimenting with new techniques to adapt to change (consumers, markets, weather, regulations, etc.).
5. Ecological Community – Describe how the nominee’s agricultural operation works with natural systems (soil, water, plants and wildlife, etc.). Describe how this benefits others.
The previous two Montana award recipients, 2020 recipients Craig and Connie French (left) and 2019 Bill and Dana Milton (right) both have strong land conservation and land trust connections.
From the application information: Sand County Foundation proudly presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners dedicated to leaving their land better than how they found it. They exemplify the spirit of Leopold’s land ethic.