Mike Liebman named Volunteer of the Year

San Isabel Land Protection Trust named Mike Liebman its Alice Proctor Outstanding Volunteer of the Year at the land trust’s annual member appreciation event Aug. 12 at the Ruzanski Ranch near Westcliffe.

The event brought together more than 140 people, who celebrated the Land Trust’s 23 years of conservation work. The Ruzanski Ranch has been protected by a conservation easement since 2003.



Mike, who moved to Cody Park in Fremont County 15 years ago, conducts annual visits to San Isabel protected properties, an important part of the land trust’s stewardship program, and he plays a key role in staging Art for the Sangres, San Isabel’s largest fundraiser. He and his crew help transform the refurbished barn at A Painted View Ranch into a fine art exhibition space. This year’s show is Sept. 28 and 29.

Dianne Whalen, chairman of the Art for the Sangres Committee and a member of San Isabel’s Board of Directors, said, “Mike unabashedly assumed the task of construction (set up and take down) when we moved the show to A Painted View Ranch six years ago. He also streamlined lighting and is always quick to respond to artists’ needs. He’s been a huge asset to Art for the Sangres.”

The Alice Proctor award is given annually in memory of San Isabel founder Alice Proctor, who contributed immeasurably to the formation of the land trust and helped build and strengthen the organization until her death in 2012. 

“Volunteers have been the core of our organization since our start in 1995,” said Larry Vickerman, board president. “Each year they donate thousands of hours of their time to ensure we fulfill our mission – that the region remains a beautiful and wild landscape with a strong agricultural foundation and vibrant, healthy communities. We couldn’t do this important work without them.”

In addition to San Isabel, Mike has contributed to the community through a variety of volunteer activities. His volunteer efforts at the Wet Mountain Valley Rotary Club focus on the club’s youth programs. That includes Rotary Exchange Students, Rotary Youth Leadership Program and the Wet Mountain Rotary Foundation, which awards scholarships to local youth. His volunteer work also includes community radio station KLZR, Sustainable Ways and its renewable energy home tours, and High Country Recycling’s plastic recycling at Altitude Fitness Center. Mike also serves on Custer County’s Affordable Housing Committee.


Photos ©2018 Greg Smith/imediasmith.com 


Janet Smith

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  • "The Hood Family placed a conservation easement on our ranch because it gave us a chance to preserve the land as undeveloped property while allowing the operation of the ranch to continue to make ranching decisions as we have always done. It also provided funding to establish retirement funds and an investment portfolio, providing long-term income."

    – Keith Hood, fifth-generation rancher