CHATHAM–The Columbia Land Conservancy has won the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Crystal Apple Award. The annual award is presented to a Chamber member business to recognize an extraordinary contribution to economic progress, community improvement, and the quality of life in Columbia County over the previous year.
The award was announced at 24th annual Crystal Apple Award Gala, Friday, March 22 at Columbia Golf & Country Club in Claverack. The conservancy was chosen by Chamber members from among six final nominees.
The apple, according to the Chamber of Commerce, symbolizes Columbia County’s beauty, agricultural heritage, and quality of life. The mission of the Columbia Land Conservancy (CLC) is to conserve the county’s scenic beauty, farmland and rural quality of life. The CLC described the award as “a perfect match.”
CLC Executive Director Peter Paden, said in a release that the conservancy was honored to have received the reward. “It is gratifying to be recognized by the county’s premier business association for our extraordinary contribution to community improvement and quality of life. We have long believed there is a central connection between conserving our forests, farmland, and rural character and the creation of a prosperous future for Columbia County, ensuring that it will remain a wonderful place to live, to visit, and to operate or establish a business.”
Over the last 26 years CLC has permanently protected over 23,000 acres of privately owned land, which contributes to the county’s rural landscapes. These protected lands provide critical habitat, improved water quality, and world-class views. The organization has also established 5,750 acres of public land, including 10 Public Conservation Areas and miles of trails, and its education programs serve over 4,000 people. In addition it partners with local government to support good planning.
CLC has conserved thousands of acres of farmland and facilitated more than $7 million in state and federal support for local farmers. CLC’s Farmer Landowner Match Program has helped to create or expand 21 local farms and returned more than 1,000 acres to productive use.
The conservancy receives virtually no public money in support of its operations and is entirely reliant on the financial support of individuals.