Land, Vision and Family
First Conservationist of the Year Award
This article originally appeared in our newsletter, Landmarks, Fall 2007
On a beautiful fall day in a beautiful place, surrounded by family, friends and people who share her vision, Diane Porter Cooley accepted the Land Trust’s first Conservationist of the Year Award. Land Trust Board President Lloyd Williams presented the award, saying “She sets a high standard for future recipients.” Williams called Cooley “A visionary pioneer, a passionate advocate, a trusted advisor, and a true leader.”
The award may be called the Conservationist of the Year, but it was given in recognition of Diane’s life-long work protecting the land she loves. She has helped protect the Santa Monica Mountains, Nisene Marks State Park, and Elkhorn Slough – and, through word and deed, she is the mother of our campaign to protect the Pajaro Valley. Six years ago, she and her husband Don donated a conservation easement on 680 acres of grazing land on their Circle P Ranch – which remains the largest property the Land Trust has protected. We are now working with them to put a conservation easement on more than 360 acres of prime farmland they own in the Pajaro Valley, which will be the second largest conservation easement in the valley (the largest being the easement on Borina farmlands, also to be held by the Land Trust).
Accepting the award, Diane asked members of her family to stand, one by one. “It’s their heritage that I’m passing along to them, with your help.” After the ceremony they all posed for a photograph – a proud family leaving the people of our county a legacy of protected land.
The Land Trust is proud to honor Diane and to work with her to protect the land we love.
We’ll have an extended interview with Diane in the next edition of Landmarks. •