San Isabel Announces Volunteer of the Year Award

San Isabel Land Protection Trust named Custer County resident Anita Welch its Alice Proctor Outstanding Volunteer of the Year at the Land Trust’s annual member appreciation event Sunday at the Bluff Park.



Anita plays a key role in the Land Trust’s Art for the Sangres fundraiser as chair of the Art Selection Committee. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the event, set for Sept. 23 and 24 at A Painted View Ranch.

Executive director Ben Lenth noted Anita's tireless efforts in finding, securing and working with the outstanding artists who participate in the annual art show. The award recognizes her longtime commitment to the Land Trust and her contributions to the community.

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Sunday’s Beer and Brats barbecue brought together 120 people, who celebrated the Land Trust’s 21 years of conservation. Larry Vickerman, president of the Land Trust’s board of directors, noted that the Land Trust has protected more than 40,000 acres of working ranches, agricultural and forest lands, water resources, wildlife habitat and scenic open spaces throughout southern Colorado.

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Also recognized Sunday were outgoing Land Trust directors Claricy Rusk, Claudia Cole and Mary Ellen Lesage and departing director of development, Kristie Nackord. The land trust welcomed directors Dianne Whalen of Westcliffe and Blake Osborn of Canon City, as well as staff members Kate Spinelli, stewardship specialist, and Janet Smith, who in the interim will coordinate development activities and Art for the Sangres.


George Sibley of Gunnison, longtime friend of the late Paul Snyder and author of “Water Wranglers,” a history of Colorado water development, spoke to the group about Colorado’s Water Plan and the challenges and compromises the state faces as it grapples with expected growth and climate change.

San Isabel is a nationally accredited nonprofit conservation organization, working with landowners to protect their land and water in Custer, Fremont, Pueblo and Huerfano counties. Its mission is to ensure that the region remains a beautiful and wild landscape with a strong agricultural foundation and a vibrant, healthy community. The Land Trust owns much of the Bluff Park at the west end of Main Street in Westcliffe and has protected it with a conservation easement so that it may be enjoyed by the community, forever.

Kristie Nackord

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