It’s Not About the Bling

Kevin Mack accepting BLM award.

Getting outside the beltway is always a pleasure for someone who makes a living protecting America’s wild and beautiful places. It’s doubly rewarding when you have a chance to share an award with a government official and meet all kinds of people committed to the cause of conservation.

I made the trip to southwest Colorado in part to represent The Conservation System Alliance in presenting the third annual Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Landscape Conservation System Leadership Award. The alliance represents more than 80 organizations and this year honored LouAnn Jacobson — manager of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and director of the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores, Colorado. The presentation was made at the 25th Anniversary of the Crow Canyon Archeological Center.

Many fine candidates were nominated for this award but LouAnn’s name rose to the top because of the enthusiasm of the group that nominated her — the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.

Mark Varien, vice president of programs at the center, noted in his nomination letter that “LouAnn merits special recognition for showing outstanding innovation and accomplishment on behalf of the Conservation System.”

The same could be said for all the people who work and volunteer for organizations across the country who help protect the hidden treasures that comprise the Conservation System. The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center exemplifies this perfectly. Located in southwestern Colorado, the center is dedicated to “understanding, teaching, and preserving the rich history of the ancestral Pueblo Indians (also called the Anasazi) who inhabited the canyons and mesas of the Mesa Verde region more than 700 years ago. The area has one of the densest concentrations of well-preserved archaeological sites in the world, attracting the interest of archaeologists, and capturing the imagination of the public, for well over 100 years.”

The best conservation work gets done when a diversity of interests join together for a common cause. It was great meeting new friends and to learn firsthand about the work of Crow Canyon.

Congratulations to LouAnn as well. We all appreciate your efforts.