Past MSGA Director, Leo Barthelmess wins Montana Neighbor Award

Today, Leo Barthelmess, Jr. was announced as one of four 2010 Montana Neighbor Award Recipients for displaying “the traditional neighborly spirit that helped make Montana what it is.”

Barthelmess hails from a multi-generation ranching family, and is widely recognized for his long-time commitment to the ranching community and quality range management. Barthelmess, a recent member of the Montana Stockgrowers Association board of directors and a leader of the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance (RSA), has pioneered collaborative conservation solutions involving ranching, development, conservation groups and resource agencies. RSA and conservation organizations recently received funding to improve wildlife habitat on thousands of acres of private ranchlands in Phillips County. RSA was also recently named the 2010 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award winners by the Montana Stockgrowers Association. Barthelmess is a Certified Land Steward through the Undaunted Stewardship program and has been active in the Sage Grouse Working Group.

The awards are given every year by an informal coalition including the Montana Alliance of Land Trusts, Artemis Common Ground, The Nature Conservancy of Montana, the Montana Council of Trout Unlimited and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Award criteria include cooperation, land stewardship/conservation ethic, neighborly land access, and community leadership.

“Our mission is to promote the on-the-ground reality of being a good Montana neighbor in a time of transition in our state,” said Chris King, the Petroleum County Commissioner and Winnett rancher who serves on the awards committee. “We believe that publicizing the good things that are happening will encourage others to undertake similar efforts.”

The other award winners are Annie and Bob Graham, Madison Valley ranchland owners; Stoltze Lumber Company of Columbia Falls; and Wisdom rancher Calvin Erb.

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