Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Congratulations, and thank you! The Pennsylvania House and Senate approved a 2012-13 state budget that supports key conservation investments by the Commonwealth. The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund will continue producing lasting legacies for Pennsylvania and cigarette tax revenue will continue to finance farmland preservation in the Commonwealth. Both conservation investment programs will continue, unharmed, into 2013, the 20th anniversary of the dedication of tax revenue to both Keystone (realty transfer tax) and farmland preservation (cigarette tax).

While it may seem incongruous to celebrate the maintenance of the status quo, in this case celebration is in order. On February 7, Governor Corbett introduced a budget that permanently zeroed out dedicated funding to Keystone park and conservation projects and farmland preservation. That — in the end — the General Assembly did not eliminate or cut the Keystone Fund or farmland preservation is a testimony to the many, many meetings, letters, and calls that you all made to your legislators and other people of influence. Thank you all so much. Those of us working in Harrisburg really can’t move the ball forward without all your individual energies and relationships.

Legislators who advocated for Keystone and farmland preservation also deserve thanks. Please take a few minutes today to WRITE A THANK YOU LETTER OR MAKE A THANK YOU CALL (even better, do both) TO YOUR LEGISLATORS who expressed support for conservation funding when you were reaching out to them. They need to hear from you that their efforts are appreciated!

With so many of you doing so much, it is impossible to publicly deliver thanks without unfairly leaving deserving persons out. Nevertheless, I’ll give it a try in the list below. For those of you whom I wrongfully omit, please point the omission out to me. You deserve to be acknowledged! For those too modest or unassuming to do so, please accept my generic thank you.

Andy Loza, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Land Trust Association

Conservation Funding Thank List
(Sorry, only one mention per person.)

For being the leading legislative champion: House Appropriations Chair Bill Adolph

For being the two leading rank-and-file conservation funding advocates: State Representatives Kate Harper and Greg Vitali

For volunteering to serve on the “Keystone Group of 6″:
Brenda Barrett
Cynthia Carrow
Bob Griffith
Ron Ramsey
Kim Woodward

For mobilizing the grassroots:
Kevin Anderson
Nicole Faraguna
David Masur
Marci Mowery
Elana Richman
Steve Stroman
Pat Tomes
Ann Toole

For tenacity and grace in advocacy: Dulcie Flaharty

For producing Keystone’s first promotional video: Mathea Jacobs and Scott Kreider

For leading on farmland preservation:
Karen Martynick
Jim Baird
Ellen Dayhoff
Matt Ehrhart
Sherri Evans-Stanton
John Goodall
Matt Knepper
Jeff Swinehart

For wearing out leather on the floors of the Capitol: Andrew Heath and Larry Williamson

For particularly noted local and other efforts (This is where I’ll make the most mistakes in failing to acknowledge great efforts — sorry!):
Oliver Bass
Trish Carothers
Alan Chase
Ralph Goodno
Rebecca Harms
Jennifer Hawk
Chris Kocher
Larry Knutson
Roy Kraynyk
Sam Kutskel
Jeff Marshall
Molly Morrison
Kyle Shenk
Phil Swank
John Turgeon