Anheuser-Busch Conservationist of the Year Award
The A-B company has a conservationist of the year award, for which you can cast votes here. (Go to the Bud site, enter your date of birth, click on the sports and outdoors graphic, and then the outdoors graphic, then click on conservationist of the year award).
The reason I mention this is that a Lowell Baier has been nominated, who wants to give the prize to the habitat conservation fund for Teddie Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch. More details in extended remarks.
Your vote can help Lowell Baier win a $50,000 prize that will go into a habitat restoration fund to enhance and restore the viewshed of Theodore Roosevelt’s historic 23,550 acre Elkhorn Ranch. The Ranch is adjacent to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota, right in the middle of the Badlands, a rich biological oasis of bird, animal and plant life.
For 12 years the Anheuser-Busch Company, through its Budweiser brand, has sponsored the Conservationist of the Year Award, the winner of which receives a $50,000 prize for his or her designated conservation project. Four finalists each year are chosen from over 200 nominations received from around the country, and this year he has been chosen as one of the four finalists. The winner is selected by national balloting done by electronic voting or paper ballots received in St. Louis, MO, before November 30, 2007.
For 24 months, Lowell Baier led an epic battle to facilitate the Federal government’s acquisition of the largest remaining piece of Theodore Roosevelt’s historic Elkhorn Ranch still in private ownership. The 23,550 acre ranch was finally acquired on April 25, 2007, following a massive national campaign to secure the Congressional political will and funding to support the acquisition. The acquisition in effect increased the size of the adjacent Theodore Roosevelt National Park by 33%. Key to the transaction was a $500,000 acquisition challenge grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, one of the largest grants they ever made, validating the historic significance of the transaction to America.
The $50,000 prize from the Anheuser-Busch competition will cap off and complete fulfilling the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s acquisition challenge. This will clear the way for more funding for a habitat renewal fund to become operative, deploying additional funding for habitat and riparian restoration efforts. These efforts will utilize native grasses and plants, grass banking for neighboring ranchers in times of drought or grass fires, environmental mitigation, and educational and interpretive programs through the cooperative participation of the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The virtual reality of the $50,000 prize has a multiplier effect on the future funding for the enhancement of this historic landscape.
Why is Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch important to America? It was here Theodore Roosevelt retreated for 3½ years (1884-1887), during which time his conservation conscience fermented and crystallized. This led to his political activism to make the conservation of America’s natural resources a national priority. During Roosevelt’s presidency, he set aside 230 million acres to forests, parklands, wildlife refuges and national monuments. That represented 84,000 acres per day during Roosevelt’s presidency, or 10% of the United States. His actions led to the establishment of the national park system, the national forest reserves, the fish and wildlife refuges and the creation of national monuments.
All of this grew out of Theodore Roosevelt’s concept of conservation crystallized during his time at the Elkhorn Ranch, which is why the ranch is known as the cradle of conservation and is considered sacred ground to the conservation and environmental movements in America.
While Lowell Baier's professional career spans 43 years, the last 37 years have been heavily invested in wildlife conservation activism. Starting with the founding of the Washington, D.C. chapter of Safari Club International in the early 1970’s, which at the national level is a powerhouse today in conservation funding and policy initiatives. That led to his being one of the original 20 charter members that created the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep. That organization since its inception in 1974 has raised and invested over $50 million in conservation projects.
In 1978, Lowell Baier single handedly led the campaign to save the National Collection of Heads and Horns from destruction by the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Zoological Society in New York. This worldwide collection contained 238 specimens of the largest heads and horns collected on all of the five continents in the world, including the famed Chadwick Ram from British Columbia. The North American portion of the collection now is on display in the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming where 7.2 million visitors have viewed it since 1982. The international collection formed the nucleus for Safari Club International to build their International Wildlife Museum in Tucson, Arizona in 1988. From a research perspective, this collection represents the largest single group of DNA specimens ever assembled of horn ungulates.