On July 15, 2012, VLT's former President Darby Bradley was celebrated at Hildene in Manchester, Vermont (the site of Abraham Lincoln's son's home) where he received the 2012 Hildene Award. The Hildene Award is given to Vermonters who have made extraordinary contributions in the areas of land conservation or historic preservation.
The inaugural award was bestowed on Senator James Jeffords in 2004 for his work helping to preserve the Civil War battlefields upon which Vermonters fought.
In introducing the award, Hildene's Executive Director Seth Bongartz said that the people being honored have lived Hildene's mission of "Values into Action".
With the award, Darby was given the opportunity to designate a local land conservation or historic preservation project to receive a $10,000 Hildene grant. Darby selected the Tinmouth Land Trust in honor of Bob and Sue Lloyd who, with fellow landowners, had completed one of the Vermont Land Trust's very first projects. The award is will be used to maintain and extend the public trail network on conserved lands in Tinmouth.
Here is an abridged version of Darby's statements about Bob and Sue's work for conservation:
"Thirty-three years ago, when the Vermont Land Trust was known as the Ottauquechee Regional Land Trust and had protected a grand total of six acres of land, some landowners in southwestern Vermont asked for our help in conserving over 1,000 acres of land, which included a working farm, managed forestland and a small wilderness area. That one project, completed early in 1980, created a number of precedents which are still reverberating today, among which are:
• It was the Land Trust's first project outside the Ottauquechee region, launching us on a path to becoming eventually a statewide organization.
• It was the first conservation easement acquired by the State of Vermont and the first easement to be co-held by the State and a land trust..
• It was the first Land Trust project to facilitate the intergenerational transfer of a working farm, a tool that VLT has used dozens of times in the intervening decades.
The original landowners did not rest when this project was completed. They went on help establish a local land trust. They encouraged the community to protect wildlife corridors, which are essential to the health of our natural communities. And ever mindful of the needs of the human as well as the natural community, they promoted the Town's first affordable housing project and worked to establish a town-wide trail network.
The town is Tinmouth, and the landowners are Bob and Sue Lloyd, who are here with us today.
In requesting that The 2012 Hildene Award of $10,000 go to the Tinmouth Land Trust, in honor of the Lloyds and for use in extending the town's trail system so that the public can enjoy the vast amount of conserved land in Tinmouth, I am repaying in a small way, and with Hildene's money, a debt which we incurred to Bob and Sue over three decades ago.
None of us could have foreseen the impact these two pioneers would have on the Vermont Land Trust or on our state, nor could we have predicted the many ways that land conservation has touched our lives as Vermonters.
To have donated most of the development rights on 1,000 acres of land at a time when land trusts and conservation easements were totally new to Vermont was a great statement of faith, not only in the future of the Vermont Land Trust but in the future of Vermont."