The Burk/Brandborg Award

Land Tawney - 2007

Land Tawney
Land Tawney

One could say that Land Tawney was born of the outdoors. As a fifth generation
Montanan, Land grew up watching his parents, Phil Tawney and Robin Tawney Nichols, lobby
for conservation efforts in Helena. His dad passed away when Land was 19, which along with
tutelage from his mother, inspired him to carry on his parent’s conservation legacy. In 2000, Land
graduated from the University of Montana with a bachelor’s in wildlife biology. While he
enjoyed the field work experiences during his time at UM, Land was most motivated to take part
in large scale conservation projects.

After graduating, Land worked with several conservation and sportsmen’s organizations
to encourage sustainable outdoor programs. Beginning in 2000, Land served as the grassroots
coordinator for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, bridging the gap between
public sportsmen access and private landowners through Federal Farm Bill dollars to public
access to private land programs . From 2004-2013, Land worked for the National Wildlife
Federation in leadership roles. While acting as the Senior Manager for Sportsman Leadership,
Land’s efforts helped pass the Restore Act which focused on restoring the gulf region after the
Deep Horizon oil spill. Land then served for just over a decade as President and CEO for the
non-profit Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. In this role he helped secure $900 million annually
for conservation and access through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He also sits on the
board for the Phil Tawney Hunter Conservation Endowment, named for his father.

In recognition of organizing the Montana Lawmaker Sportsmen’s Caucus, Land received
the Missoula Conservation Roundtable’s Burk-Brandborg award in 2007. In addition, Land has
received the Les Pengelly Conservation Professional Award, presented by Montana Wildlife
Federation in 2007; and the Jim Range Conservation Leadership Award, presented by the
American Fly-Fishing Trade Association in 2019.

For Land, community and working with others are essential to conservation. Whether it is
inspiring future leaders in the field or working in a supportive role with Native tribes on bison
restoration projects, Land finds community efforts the most gratifying. He is inspired by the
passion of conservationists who came before him, finds the collective fight for causes rewarding,
and feels consolation when they face losses together. Land believes that while there is sage
wisdom to gain from those that came before him, future generations of conservationists need to
be encouraged, given a chance to lead, and to be heard. His advice to those interested in getting
involved is to get outside and find both the solace and inspiration found in nature. He also
believes every single voice matters in a democracy and that people need to show up, take part,
and make a difference.

By Kymberly MacEwan

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