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ORLT 30th Anniversary Celebration Recap and Photos

A huge thanks to everyone who came to the Oconee River Land Trust’s 30th Anniversary celebration last Sunday. An extra special thanks goes out to board member Smith Wilson and Diane Penny for hosting the party on their property, as well as to everyone who generously contributed to make the event possible. Speeches were made, mule rides were enjoyed, and delectable food and drink was consumed, among other enjoyable activities and interactions. Big picture; a grand time was had by all.

Photos by Kathy Parker and Roger Nielsen

Several awards were presented by new Executive Director Dan Crescenzo, and they were as follows:

The ORLT Champion Award for exemplary service in support of ORLT’s work, conservation education, and member experience was awarded To Isaac Ostrom, for sharing his wealth of knowledge about natural history as a volunteer on many land trust hikes and for helping to catalog species on ORLT easements.

The ORLT Steward Award , to the landowners who are effectively managing their property to maintain or restore its conservation values, including farm or forestry practices was awarded to To Jane and Nick Bath, for outstanding stewardship of their property to maintain and enhance its conservation values, including careful, sustainable management of agricultural lands, removal of Chinese privet from bottomland hardwood forests, and restoring these critical habitats. The Baths placed a conservation easement on their 260-acre property in Oconee County in 2002. Their property has open pastures and mixed hardwood forests sloping to the Apalachee River at the site of the old Snows Mill dam.

The ORLT Heritage Award for substantial, long-term contributions to Oconee River Land

Trust’s mission was awarded to Rob and Carol Winthrop, who regularly host events to share their beautiful land with ORLT members and the public, for protecting its diverse species and intact natural habitats, and for their generous donations. The Winthrops placed a conservation easement on their 367-acre property in Oglethorpe County in 2006. Their forested property, near the Smithonia settlement, sits along Beaverdam Creek, and has a large pond and an extensive wetland in the creek floodplain.

Last, but certainly not the least the SPECIAL AWARD was presented to former ORLT Executive Director Steffney Thompson for over 25 years of outstanding service to ORLT. With Steffney’s dedicated guidance, first as a volunteer and then as executive director, ORLT now manages conservation easements protecting over 43,000 acres of forests, rivers, and farms across Georgia.

Another heartfelt thanks to anyone who has supported us in any way, shape or form over the past 30 years, we’re indebted to you in perpetuity. Here’s to another 30!

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