Our second event in the Prescott College Environmental Studies Fall Colloquium dealt with the role of conservation easements in land stewardship. We had two speakers from different farm and ranch friendly land conservancies in the Southwest. Both Scott and Rebecca are interested in working with Prescott College students for independent studies and/or senior projects. Let me know if you’re interested in learning more.
Scott Perez, Executive Director, La Plata Open Space Conservancy, Durango, CO
Rebecca Ruffner, Central Arizona Land Trust, Prescott, AZ
“People and Environment: Using Conservation Easements to Protect Nature and Our Working Landscapes”
Biography: Scott grew up in a farming community in the midwest. After a stint in college he started what he calls his “25 year spring break.” During that time he worked a variety of jobs but most of the time was spent as a working cowboy and guide all through the western US. Scott returned to school in 2000, graduating from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and moving on to Cornell University where he received his MS in Natural Resources and will get his PhD if he ever gets the last chapter of his dissertation finished. Scott is now the Executive Director of La Plata Open Space Conservancy in Durango, CO, a land trust holding almost 200 easements covering 24,000 acres.
Scott was joined by Rebecca Ruffner of the Central Arizona Land Trust (CALT) who spoke about land trust initiatives in Arizona. CALT educates the local community about how land trusts support open space and local working agricultural lands. I learned in the talk that CALT was formed through the public outcry that occurred when someone tried to build a home on the slopes of Thumb Butte in the 1980s.