The Turkey Creek Ranch owned and operated by Gary and Georgia Walker received the 2014 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award this week during the 2014 Protein Producer Summit. The Pueblo-based ranch consists of approximately 65,000 deeded acres, managed for both wildlife and livestock.

The acts of cattle ranching and wildlife management go hand in hand and the life’s work of the Walkers proves it. Under an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they re-introduced Black Footed Ferrets, which were once thought to be extinct, in eastern Colorado. “The Walkers balance a love of the land and a dedication to preserving wildlife with cattle ranching.” stated Gene Manuello, President of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. “The fourteen years of sustained drought have put unfathomable pressure on producers in southeastern Colorado; the Walker’s forethought and planning included the installation of pipelines, water storage tanks and stock ponds which have played an integral part in the long-term viability of the Turkey Creek Ranch as a home to livestock and wildlife.”

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes private landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. The Walkers received a $10,000 cash prize and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold. Presented annually by the Sand County Foundation, the award recognizes private landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust are presenting partners of the award in Colorado.

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