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Wow, what a night!
Thank you to everyone who joined us on Friday evening for A Night on the Ranch to benefit Palmer Land Conservancy. We welcomed nearly 100 guests to a special evening celebrating land and nature in southern Colorado. We enjoyed a fabulous farm-to-table dinner, live music and dancing, farm tours, and an awards program where we honored the City of Colorado Springs, Bruce Warren, and Stu Dodge for their excellence in land conservation through the founding of Palmer Land Conservancy over 44 years ago.
We created this event for one simple reason—conservation can’t wait in southern Colorado. The land is essential. And once it is gone, you don’t get it back. As we’ve all seen, there are increased pressures on our landscape. From a growing population to exponential increased use of our outdoor spaces, to limited water resources— we must act to protect the land today.
Because of many of you, we raised nearly two-thirds of our $100,000 goal for the evening. But if you haven’t yet given, please consider a generous donation to support Palmer and the important work of saving land throughout southern Colorado. The land doesn’t protect itself, it needs a community of courageous land lovers like you to protect it. Help us ensure the Colorado we enjoy today is here forever.
On behalf of the Palmer board of trustees, I’d like to offer a special thanks to Mayor John Suthers, the Frost Family, A Grazing Life, and all of our members, guests, and friends who joined us for this special occasion.
Yours in conservation,
Check out the film that we featured during the event to commemorate our past, present, and future.
Stu Dodge holds a special place with all of us at Palmer Land Conservancy. Stu is responsible for catalyzing Palmer into a regional land conservation entity guided by impact and excellence. He served as the organization’s first executive director, and initiated the Pikes Peak Conservation Corridor project along Highway 24 between Woodland Park and Divide—a conservation legacy for the Pikes Peak region that solidified Palmer’s reputation. It is a well-known story that for all of Stu’s remarkable vision and energy put into conservation, Palmer paid him $1 per year as executive director. His legacy with Palmer and other conservation organizations is so strong that we’ve honored other conservationists annually since 2005 with the Stuart P. Dodge Lifetime Achievement Award. While Stu passed away in 2013, just shy of his 92nd birthday, it is a privilege that we get to honor him.
As a founding trustee and the first board president of Palmer Land Conservancy, Bruce Warren has been a driving-force behind land conservation in the Pikes Peak region. As a young attorney, he helped facilitate Palmer’s first land transaction in 1980—the donation of the Blair Bridge property by Mr. Al Hill, Lyda Hill’s father. Today, this property known as the Blair Bridge Open Space, is a valued open space adjacent to Garden of the Gods. Bruce went on to continue his involvement with Palmer Land Conservancy through years of board service and philanthropic support of the organization. In 1995, Bruce was instrumental in helping to create what is now known as Rawles Open Space—a neighborhood treasure and important wildlife habitat corridor on the Mesa in Colorado Springs.
Always an advocate of continuing to evolve conservation to meet the times, he was a strong supporter when we decided to change our name last year from Palmer Land Trust to Palmer Land Conservancy. Though he and his wife now live in Carbondale, Colorado, we know a piece of his heart and soul will always reside in the Pikes Peak region and especially any place that holds that view of both Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak in that quintessential Colorado Springs landscape.
Many people probably are unaware that the entity that would become Palmer Land Conservancy was originally housed within the City of Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Department. Together, the City and this entity, which after a year spun off into a standalone nonprofit, the William J Palmer Parks Foundation, worked in close partnership on the expansion of Garden of the Gods Park. Significant development was proposed along the backdrop of the Garden with over a dozen private lots for sale. The City and Palmer strategically worked together to acquire a number of parcels and convey them into the Park’s boundary forever protecting one of the most important views to Pikes Peak residents. Today, we work in partnership ensuring the perpetual protection of eight open space properties owned by the City including- Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Stratton Open Space, and Ute Valley Park. Over the decades, the City has continued to be an influential and important land conservation and outdoor recreation partner.
We couldn’t do this important work without your support.