9/23/17 – We took the opportunity at our annual Treasured Places event to recognize our volunteer, partner and landowners of the year. We appreciate their hard work and dedication to land conservation. They are an essential part of the equation for the work we do here at the Land Trust.

2017 John Peck Volunteer of the Year

Program Manager Kristina Geiger, Tom Hoffmann, and Executive Director Kris Larson

Program Manager Kristina Geiger, Tom Hoffmann, and Executive Director Kris Larson

Tom Hoffmann likes the idea of preserving natural spaces, especially in Southeast Minnesota where the landscape is so unique. So he’s put his passion into action, volunteering as a certified monitor for the Land Trust. Volunteers not only walk the land, but make connections with the private landowners who steward the protected properties.

Tom’s uniquely qualified for the work. As a geographic information systems (GIS) coordinator for Winona County, he’s experienced in looking at land both on the ground and on the computer. In addition, Tom has ferried land title documents throughout the region on behalf of the Land Trust.

2017 Partner of the Year

Program Manager Pat Collins, Jaime Edwards of the MN DNR, and Executive Director Kris Larson

Program Manager Pat Collins, Jaime Edwards of the MN DNR, and Executive Director Kris Larson

As a wildlife specialist with the DNR, Jaime Edwards is guided by a personal desire to protect and restore Southeast Minnesota’s wildlife habitat. And that’s a big job.

Jaime spends a great deal of time in the field, focusing particularly on the region’s at-risk species and their habitat. One of her specialties is the state-threatened timber rattlesnake (hence her nickname, “the rattlesnake lady”). She also educates landowners, working with them to implement habitat restoration on their property.

Jaime’s commitment and her connections have been critical in helping the Land Trust make progress with its goals of establishing conservation easements in the region.

2017 Landowners of the Year

Stewardship Associate Andrew Moe, Lori & Jon Peterson, and Executive Director Kris Larson

Stewardship Associate Andrew Moe, Lori & Jon Peterson, and Executive Director Kris Larson

Jon and Lori Peterson wake each day before sunrise to go about their work, tending to the needs of their organic farm. There’s milking to do and livestock to care for, fencing to repair and pastures to tend. Every day is a bit different but one thing is constant: They’re committed to being farmers and good land stewards. And in doing so, they are showing others that you can indeed accomplish both. The Peterson family conservation easements total 740 acres.

“We hope that our work with the Minnesota Land Trust will inspire other farmers in the area,” says Jon.

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