– Reed Tollefson, received the Sierra Business
Council's 2009 Vision 2020 Award for his exemplary leadership
in the Southern Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Business Council created the Vision 2020 awards to
recognize and encourage leadership in the Sierra, honoring community
members as their work continues to achieve excellence in projects
and approaches that foster community vitality, environmental
quality, economic prosperity, and social fairness.
on land protection and stewardship in the Southern Sierra Nevada
has been a major factor in many of the local land
protection successes for over 20 years.
Tollefson has been the
manager of Audubon's Kern River Preserve since 1992 where he has
been responsible for conserving over 22,000 acres of land in the
Kern River Valley and Walker Basin through direct acquisition or
conservation easements. These protection efforts have
kept the rural nature of these communities
and helped area ranchers survive during tumultuous economic times.
“I’m honored to receive this award that not only recognizes my
conservation work, but also recognizes the importance of the South
Fork Kern River Valley,” said Tollefson. “The Kern River Preserve,
and the valley in general, sits in the middle of a vitally important
nature corridor that runs from the Sierra Nevada to the desert and
coastal ranges. These are some of California’s most spectacular
habitat areas, and are really worth our effort to protect.”
His success is due to his ability to work
closely with many partners. He is passionate
about restoring riparian vegetation and diligently removes invasive weeds preventing economic devastation to the ranching industry
as well as native habitats. Much of his success is due to his ability to build bridges within the ranching
community in order to secure permanent protection for California's
largest native riparian forest.
Tollefson educates many people about how habitats are interconnected –
water, wildlife corridors, and human activity.
stewardship he has protected the native
cottonwood-willow forest habitat along the Kern River,
protecting it from degradation and development.
The South Fork Kern River Valley is
considered a Globally
Significant Important Bird Area by Audubon California because it
hosts nearly 200 nesting species, including Western Yellow-billed
Cuckoo and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher.
Audubon Kern River Preserve is
working to address regional
conservation issues in the face of climate change and threats to
wildlife and biological diversity with the Southern Sierra
Partnership, a collaborative effort with The Nature Conservancy,
Sierra Business Council, Tejon Ranch Conservancy, Sequoia Riverlands
Trust and the National Parks Service. §