Community Members Honored for their Conservation Efforts at Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Conservation Celebration

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Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Conservation Celebration honoring outstanding conservation achievements awarded four individuals and families for their contributions at a gathering this week. “We were formed by, we are inspired by, and we are dependent on thoughtful, committed members of our community,” said Rich Cochran, president and CEO of Western Reserve Land Conservancy. “This is one of my favorite nights of the year as we are able to honor and reflect on those who have given so much to not only our organization, but our community at large.

Their efforts and their gifts in conservation will significantly impact the wellness and vitality of future generations.” Conservation Celebration was held on June 4th at the Land Conservancy’s central office. Award recipients included:

Jeffrey Holland, Sugar Maple Award. The Sugar Maple Award is the Land Conservancy’s highest honor and is awarded annually to an exceptional leader and conservationist. Jeff founded the Medina County Land Conservancy in 1991 when he was struck by the rapid rate of development and loss of greenspace. The organization has since merged with the Revere Land Conservancy to become the Medina-Summit Land Conservancy and as of 2006, merged to become part of the Land Conservancy.

Jeff has served on the Land Conservancy’s Board of Trustees for 11 years and is a member of the organization’s White Oak Legacy Society. Jeff and his wife, Maggie — renowned animal defense lawyers — donated a conservation easement on a portion of their 100-acre property in Wadsworth in 2008. Aptly named Frog Hollow, the property features mature beech-maple and mixed hardwood forest, old pasture, wet meadow, streams and ponds. In addition to his recognition from the Land Conservancy, Jeff also received a proclamation from Medina County Commissioners.

Betsy Juliano, Trustee Recognition. Betsy Juliano, a former board chair of the Land Conservancy, was recognized for her role as a Trustee on the Board of Trustees for more than two decades. Betsy’s passion for conservation and enduring love of the natural world is evident through her service to the Land Conservancy and also her decision to permanently conserve 345 acres of her beloved farm and forest land in Mesopotamia Township. While she is retiring in her role as Trustee, her conservation legacy will surely live on. Betsy also received a proclamation from the Ohio Senate, which was drafted by Senator John Eklund.

The Baltes Family, Grimm Family Conservation Medal. The Baltes Family was one of two families awarded the Grimm Family Conservation Medal for outstanding work in conservation. Andy Baltes, a third-generation farmer, manages his family grain farm with his son, A.J., in Mahoning County. The donated conservation easements prevent future development of the 390 acres of the family farm in Mahoning County. Andy is an extremely conservation minded farmer who has also recently completed three wetland restoration projects that not only sequester nutrients and sediment on his farm, but also provide high quality habitat for wildlife. The permanent conservation of the 390-acre Baltes Farm more than doubles the amount of land conserved by Western Reserve Land Conservancy in Mahoning County.

The Miller Family, Grimm Family Conservation Medal. The Miller family was also awarded the Grimm Family Conservation Medal for outstanding work in conservation. Located in northwest Holmes County and northeast Knox County, The Miller Family owns Valley Head Farm, encompassing 417 acres in the scenic Mohican region. Four generations of the family have owned, explored, worked and loved the land since 1930. The Miller Family donated a conservation easement to Western Reserve Land Conservancy containing 140 acres of tillable farmland and 277 acres of forested property with a diverse collection of tree species including 30 acres of white pine (enrolled in the Federal Conservation Reserve Program) and 247 acres of deciduous and coniferous tree species. More than 2 miles of tributaries can be found flowing into the Mohican River which comprises the western boundary of the property.

About Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Western Reserve Land Conservancy provides the people of our region with essential natural assets through land conservation and restoration. The Land Conservancy preserves natural areas and working farms in 23 counties in northern and eastern Ohio; its urban program, Thriving Communities, works statewide to eliminate blight and create healthier environments in cities devastated by the foreclosure crisis. To date, the Land Conservancy has permanently preserved more than 750 properties totaling 56,000+ acres; worked with municipalities to create more than 170 public parks and preserves; led the efforts to create 55 county land banks across Ohio; and planted more than 6,000 robust trees in the City of Cleveland. For more information, visit: Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

Pictured In Cover Photo: Chagrin Valley resident, Betsy Juliano (Gates Mills), was honored – along with several other Ohio locals – for her work in conservation at a recent “Conservation Celebration” event held by the Land Conservancy. Pictured with Betsy in the photo is Rich Cochran, President & CEO of the Land Conservancy.

Photo Courtesy of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy

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