In celebration of Earth Day, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has proclaimed July 12 as Wyoming Environmental Stewardship Day. Mead signed the proclamation during a ceremony on April 24 in his formal office.

"My family has been ranching in Wyoming for four generations and one of the main lessons I was taught was to take good care of the land," Mead said. "In other words, where you find one blade of grass, leave two. This event celebrates those who work so hard to feed this country and to preserve our beautiful lands for future generations."

Each year, Wyoming Environmental Stewardship Day marks the date of the Environmental Stewardship Tour hosted by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. The annual event showcases that year's Leopold Conservation Award recipient's conservation efforts. The 2012 recipients of the award are siblings Albert and Jonita Sommers who are third generation ranchers in Sublette County.

"Governor Mead shares our belief that Wyoming's farmers and ranchers are integral to the health of the state's natural resources," said Brent Haglund, Sand County Foundation president. "We appreciate the Governor's participation in this important celebration of sustainable agriculture on private lands."

The $10,000 Leopold Conservation Award (www.leopoldconservationaward.org) will be presented to the Sommers at WSGA's Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show June 1 in Jackson. The award in Wyoming is presented by Sand County Foundation, WSGA, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. and Peabody Energy.

"The Sommers set an extraordinary example of ranchers who are committed to living as responsible stewards of the land," said Jim Magagna, WSGA executive vice president. "Earth Day is the perfect time to recognize ranchers as true stewards of Wyoming's natural resources."

The Leopold Conservation Award in Wyoming is made possible through the support of Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., Peabody Energy, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Farm Credit and the Monaghan Foundation.

For more information or to attend the Environmental Stewardship Tour of Sommers Ranch on July 12, please call WSGA at 307-638-3942.

Date: 7/9/2012

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