WSGLT: Albert Sommers Chosen as Recipient of the 2019 Kurt Bucholz Conservation Award
Cheyenne, Wyo. – The Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust is happy to announce that Albert Sommers of Pinedale will be the recipient of the 2019 Kurt Bucholz Conservation Award. Sommers is being recognized for his exceptional support of agricultural land conservation, private property, and water rights. Sommers was nominated by his sister Jonita Sommers, Pinedale NRCS District Conservationist Jennifer Hayward, and Wyoming Stock Growers Association Executive Vice-President Jim Magagna.
The Bucholz Conservation Award is given in memory of the late Dr. Kurt Bucholz, DVM, rancher from Carbon County, and early supporter of the WSGLT. The Bucholz Award winner encompasses the values and stewardship goals that Kurt exemplified in his life. Kurt had a unique understanding of water and land issues and worked to protect the historic water rights that are fundamental to the North Platte Valley.
Jennifer Hayward spoke about his unique view on Wyoming agriculture and conservation, saying, “Albert’s fusion of past history along with his vision for the future gives him a perspective that instills respect and confidence for his views on ranching in the Upper Green River Valley. He embodies the spirit that Kurt Bucholz displayed in his life and work.”
Sommers is an active participant and advocate for Wyoming agriculture, wildlife, and conservation, representing them in the Wyoming Legislature and on many boards, working groups, and panels regionally and nationally. Sommers has also served as President of the Green River Valley Cattlemen’s Association and the Upper Green River Cattle Association, and has been a member of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association for over 30 years.
Rooted in Sublette County, Sommers’ passion for ranching has led him to accomplish a multitude of projects in the Pinedale area. The Sommers family, in partnership with Maggie Miller and the WSGLT, protected 19,000 acres of agricultural land and wildlife habitat with the Sommers-Grindstone Conservation Project, which represents one of the largest habitat and public access projects accomplished in Wyoming. Sommers commented on the importance of receiving this award, saying “Agriculture is becoming less and less a priority when it has to produce more and more. The value in this award is recognizing conservation on working lands. Some may think that conservation just happens, but it takes really hard work from really dedicated people.”
Sommers’ father ingrained in him the idea of “If you take care of the land, it will take care of you.” This mindset is evident in the dedication Sommers brings to his advocacy. He frequently attends and presents at Western Landowners Alliance symposiums, serves as a panelist for the Regional USDA Climate Hub on climate issues related to ranching, and he was a founding member of the Sublette County Invasive Species Task Force. This mindset also shows itself in the many awards Sommers’ has been given including the 2012 Wyoming Environmental Stewardship/Leopold Conservation Award, the 2013 Landowner of the Year Award from the Wyoming Game and Fish, and the 2012 Outstanding Contributions to Sage Grouse Initiative award.
Sommers is always willing to lend a hand in the community, has participated in many interviews, videos, and tours about ranching and wildlife in the Upper Green River Valley, and was a driving force in receiving recognition for the Green River Drift in the National Register of Historic Places. The Sommers family’s dedication to the history of Sublette County and the homesteaders who cleared the way for ranchers of today can be seen in the Sommers Homestead Living History Museum, located on their family ranch.
Albert Sommers will be presented with a bronze statue sculpted by the talented Wyoming artist Jerry Palen, at the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust’s 18thAnnual Roundup Fundraiser and Barbeque at the Rambling M Ranch outside of Cody, Wyoming on August 24th. Please join us in recognizing Albert’s important conservation work in Wyoming.
About the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust
The Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust is dedicated to conservation through ranching. Based in Cheyenne, the non-profit organization serves the entire state and is Wyoming’s only agricultural land trust. Through partnerships with ranch families, the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust holds and stewards conservation easements on more than 278,000 acres of land on ranches and farms throughout Wyoming. Founded in 2000 by the 140-year-old Wyoming Stock Growers Association, it is one of the largest among the 1,659 regional land trusts in the United States.
For more information, visit www.wsgalt.org.