On Friday, the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (PALTA) honored D. Andrew “Andy” Pitz with the Lifetime Conservation Leadership Award. Pitz received the award at the annual Pennsylvania Land Conservation Conference, held this year at The Desmond in Chester County.

A key leader and thinker within the conservation community, Pitz has spent his entire professional career working to permanently protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources. From 1986 to 2012, he worked in various capacities for Natural Lands, where he coordinated public-policy activities, developed strategic and ecological management plans, supervised transactions on hundreds of projects, and initiated several landscape-scale conservation efforts.

Pitz was a founder of PALTA and served as president for six of the organization’s early years. He was instrumental in the hiring of PALTA’s first executive director in 2000 and the passage of the Conservation and Preservation Easements Act in 2001. Pitz rejoined the PALTA board in 2013 and remains an active board member to this day.

“Andy’s kindness, grace, and sense of humor make it a joy to work with him,” said Reneé Carey, PALTA president and executive director of the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy. “His dedication to the profession and commitment to Pennsylvania’s land conservation efforts has helped create a community of professionals across the state.”

Currently, Pitz is the executive director of the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its staff and conservation holdings, achieved accreditation, developed a new strategic plan, increased revenue, and undertook the largest conservation project in its 50-year history.

Pitz has also been active in the Climate Reality Project as a presenter and activist. He participated in one of the first groups trained by Al Gore in 2007, and in the following years presented more than 80 times in 15 states, focusing on the links between land conservation and climate change.

“Andy’s passion, humility, humor, vision, and dedication are a continual inspiration,” said Andy Loza, executive director of PALTA. “Pennsylvania is all the better for his decades of making conservation happen and building and shaping the conservation movement in which we all work. It’s been a pleasure knowing and working with Andy for many of these years. I expect that Andy’s efforts to make the world a better place are far from over.”

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