Parks and Wildlife accepting Wildlife Landowner of the Year award nominations

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“Farming and ranching families experience a connection to the landscape that many of us have lost. They understand that the sound soil, water, and vegetative management practices, which benefit their agricultural operations, also benefits wildlife. The health of the land is not an abstract concept to them and that’s worth celebrating.”

Ken Morgan, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s private lands program manager, about the annual Wildlife Landowner of the Year award.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is accepting nominations for its Wildlife Landowner of the Year Award.

The honor, bestowed annually, recognizes outstanding contributions made by private landowners to conserving wildlife, enhancing wildlife habitat, and providing public access for hunting and fishing.

The winner will be announced Jan. 22, 2013, in Denver at a banquet and awards ceremony during the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association competition scheduled to take place during the National Western Stock Show.

“More than four of every 10 acres in Colorado is in agricultural production,” said Ken Morgan, Parks and Wildlife’s private lands program manager, in a news release. “The management and stewardship of important habitat by farming and ranching families through the generations has been vital to supporting the remarkable wildlife abundance that many Coloradans take for granted today.”

Since 1982 the Parks and Wildlife’s landowner recognition program has worked to highlight the role of private land managers play in wildlife conservation and sound management principles.

Though Colorado is known for its 23 million acres of public lands, private lands are critical to maintaining populations of mule deer, pronghorn, elk, sage-grouse, prairies falcons and a host of grassland species including the lark bunting, Colorado’s state bird, the release states.

In addition privately held water rights, held in reservoirs and released into streams, supports both cold and warm water sport fishing across the state, the release states.

“Farming and ranching families experience a connection to the landscape that many of us have lost,” Morgan said in the release. “They understand that the sound soil, water, and vegetative management practices, which benefit their agricultural operations, also benefits wildlife.

“The health of the land is not an abstract concept to them and that’s worth celebrating.”

Nomination forms and guidelines can be found on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife web site. Submissions are due Dec. 14 by the close of business.

Finalists will be announced Jan. 11, 2013. Award banquet attendance on Jan. 22, 2013 is mandatory for the winner.

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