SACRAMENTO, Calif. – October 20, 2014 –
California Rangeland Trust awarded the Stone Family of Yolo County the Conservationist of the Year Award at their yearly fundraiser, A Western Affair. The Rangeland Trust awards this honor to an individual or family that models sustainable conservation practices on ranchlands.
For decades, the Stone Family has been blazing a trail in preserving natural resources and wildlife habitats on their 7,500-acre ranch, Yolo Land and Cattle Company, while being true innovators in their cattle ranching operation. The family includes Scott and Karen Stone; their sons, Austin and Carson; and Scott’s brother, Casey, his wife, Angela, and their daughter, Keeley, and son, Wilson. Most notably, Scott’s and Casey’s father, Hank, was honored posthumously in front of emotional guests of the event.
Hank Stone purchased their ranch, near Sacramento, with a partner in 1976 and established a practice of conservation leadership that has continued for decades. His sons, Scott and Casey, later joined him in managing the business with the foundation of sustainable ranching. Hank passed away in 2013. As the award was given to the family at the event, the crowd gave a standing ovation.
The Stones were recognized as models in applying sustainable land management practices, including planting and managing native grasses on their property, restoring stock ponds, implementing a rotational grazing plan, and enhancing riparian areas to improve water quality in the watersheds on their land. Much of their success has been by forging cooperative partnerships with organizations and agencies including U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, California Department of Forestry, Audubon California, University of California at Davis, and more.
“They have never been afraid to take risks and exhibit a true generosity of spirit in what they do for the community, working with numerous partners and agencies, and spearheading environmental education programs for urban youth,” said Nita Vail, CEO, California Rangeland Trust. “We celebrate the Stone family legacy, past, present and future in taking care of the land, so it can take care of us. Hank would be so proud of what his family has accomplished.”
The Conservationist of the Year award has been given for seven years to a member of the California ranching community that embodies responsible rangeland conservation. The winner in 2013 was Louise Hanson, in honor of her pioneering spirit and dedication to conserving the ranching heritage off the Gaviota Coast near Santa Barbara.