Dr. John Lunt awarded Kurt Bucholz Conservation Award
The Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust recently awarded Dr. John Lunt the second annual Kurt Bucholz Conservation Award at its annual "Round Up Barbecue" held Aug. 1 at the XH ranch in Saratoga.
Lunt, who did not know he was to receive the award later stated, "There was complete shock and awe. I was very touched to be given this award."
After leaving an established Colorado surgical practice in order to provide medical care for the small town of Saratoga, Dr. Lunt and his wife Susie fulfilled a lifetime dream and purchased the Highline Ranch. John spent many summers during medical school working on ranches in Wyoming and had a love for agriculture and the open spaces and abundant wildlife it protects. Not long after purchasing the Highline Ranch John and Susie protected it with a donated conservation easement held by the Stock Growers Land Trust.
John was appointed to the first Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust Board of Directors in 2001 and has served on the Board since that time. He is passionate about agricultural lands remaining in production agriculture.
"For 130 years across Wyoming the hand of the rancher and farmer has been gentle, transformative, and landscape-enhancing; not because the early ranchers set out to be 'environmentalists,' but because their survival depended upon open working landscapes, irrigated meadows, and a healthy productive ecosystem," says Dr. Lunt. "This landscape is what we inherit today."
The Kurt Bucholz Conservation Award is named for Dr. Kurt Bucholz DVM, one of the Land Trust's early supporters who, along with his wife Laura, owned the XH Ranch. For many years Dr. Bucholz devoted countless hours to his county and state livestock organizations, the Carbon County #2 School Board, the Corbett Medical Foundation, and served two terms in the Wyoming State legislature. He demonstrated a keen understanding of state and local water issues, and was adamant about protecting the upper North Platte Valley's vital and historic water rights. A rare cancer claimed Kurt's life in December 2006.
The Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust and Laura Bucholz subsequently implemented an award in 2008 to be presented annually to an individual who exemplifies Kurt's conservation values, particularly those that center on protecting and nourishing Wyoming's working ranches. The honoree receives a Jerry Palen bronze that depicts the Land Trust horse and rider logo. Dennis Sun, editor of the Wyoming Livestock Round Up, was the first recipient of the award in 2008. Mr. Sun was instrumental in developing Ag in the Classroom as well as establishing the use of Conservation Resource Management (CRM) initiatives in the State of Wyoming.
The Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust is dedicated to conserving Wyoming's working family farms and ranches and the wide open spaces, natural habitats, and western lifestyle they support. Based on a growing need within the ranching community to provide voluntary, private sector mechanisms that assist landowners in retaining their land in agriculture and in passing it on to succeeding generations, the Land Trust was founded by general membership vote of the Wyoming Stock
Growers Association in December of 2000 and a federally registered charitable organization in July of 2001.
The land trust accomplishes its objectives through conservation easements, increasing awareness of tools to maintain ranchlands, and assisting in research for new opportunities to conserve working agricultural landscapes. To date, the Land Trust has conserved over 108,000 acres of working¬ ranchlands throughout the state of Wyoming. For more information, please visit www.wsgalt.com.