Pacific Coast Joint Venture partners have been working with Scott and Susan Freeman, from Seattle, Washington, on the Tarboo Watershed since 2004. They have been amazing conservation partners and a huge blessing for the project. Over the past eight years the Freemans have completed five conservation purchases and now own 232 acres of wetland and forest along Tarboo Creek, a tributary to the state of Washington’s Hood Canal. But Susan and Scott not only buy land for conservation; they also actively work to restore it as part of the larger effort to protect and restore Tarboo Creek. They have involved their two sons and various relatives and friends in planting and weed control projects over the years. Their son, Ben, a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology working on montane bird communities in Papua New Guinea, and his fiancée, Alexa, are also here to accept this award.

In 2003 a 17-acre property on a critical section of Tarboo Creek had been for sale for some time, and Peter Bales, executive director of Northwest Watersheds was increasingly worried about the potential loss of a rare opportunity for restoration. Sarah Spaeth, Jefferson Land Trust’s Land Projects Manager, called and said that a conservation buyer from Seattle had contacted them looking for property in the area. She suggested Peter give them a call. In a matter of minutes Peter was talking with Scott Freeman, who said that they were looking for property to conserve and restore, as his wife’s family had been doing restoration for generations. Susan’s grandfather, in fact, was Aldo Leopold, the father of Wildlife Ecology and the author of the Sand County Almanac.

For their deep family legacy and commitment to restoring the land, we are honored to present the Freeman’s with the 2012 North American Migratory Bird Joint Venture Conservation Champion Award for a Private Landowner.