Home > News > News > Celebrating Team Effort: Remarks from Barton Jones for the Katchen Coley Award for Excellence in Conservation


Group at the award ceremony for Barton Jones

I really appreciate receiving today CLCC’s Katchen Coley Award for Excellence in Conservation in recognition of our conservation work in Cornwall.

But I feel like the coach of a team that just won a big match. The team members were essential to the conservation work behind this award. They were responsible for helping me and Cornwall Conservation Trust to conserve over 3 square miles of forest and farmland in Cornwall. And it has been a long game – over 37 years! And I have only been a volunteer coach for 12 of those years.

The Cornwall Conservation Team has too many members to thank everyone individually. They come from four big groups – the Town, the Region, the State, and the Nation.

Now I want to broadly recognize our superb conservation team and thank them for their great work and support for conservation in Cornwall.

I’ll start by thanking the team members from Cornwall. First, thank you donors and volunteers, especially the board and staff of CCT. Thanks to the families of Cornwall for their foresight and generosity. One example – Members of the same Coley family as Katchen donated 110 acres of forest to the Conservation Trust. The Foote family donated not just the town park on which we stand but both land for conservation and affordable housing across the street from us. Cornwall families have donated over half of the 2000 acres now owned by CCT.

Next, thanks to the Town’s leadership, selectmen, and commission members, for their work on Cornwall’s current Plant of Conservation and Development. That charts an important  “both and” course for our conservation work, not just an “either or” end game.

I thank our regional team members from HVA, Greenprint, the Northeast Wilderness Trust and the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, among other regional organizations, for their conservation advocacy and financial help in our conservation work.

I thank our state-wide team members. Our state government and legislators created and continue to support the Community Investment Act that provides essential funding for our conservation work as well as affordable housing and agriculture. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection does great work administering our State’s open space grant program. Thanks to CLCC for giving voice to the needs of our conservation work.

Finally, I thank our national team members. Thanks to the Congress and Senate for enacting and supporting the Highlands Act that augments the conservation funding we get from the state. They are also responsible for getting the Housatonic River into the Wild & Scenic Rivers Partnership program and support from the National Park Service for the Housatonic River Commission. Organizations like the Nature Conservancy are also important conservation team members.

I have used a sports analogy to describe my feelings about receiving the Katchen Coley Award for Environmental Excellence. But our work in conservation is not just a game.  Conservation is key to the survival of  our planet and its support for life. I am proud to be part of an outstanding team acting locally to meet a global challenge.  Thanks everyone for their help in supporting our vital conservation work.