Environmental group has awarded Sen. Coons their highest honor, the Conservation Leadership Award

Award recognizes Sen. Coons’ co-founding of the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus and his leadership on conservation

WILMINGTON, Del. — On April 27, the Delaware Trustees of The Nature Conservancy awarded the Conservation Leadership Award, the environmental organization’s top honor, to U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.).  The award highlighted Sen. Coons’ work on critical legislation to promote conservation in Delaware and across the country as well as his role as co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus. The Nature Conservancy has 3,500 active members in Delaware and over one million nationwide.

  • Senator Coons co-founded the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus in 2019 with Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.). The caucus promotes bipartisan discussion about climate policy and advocates for Congress to play a central role in addressing the challenge.
  • Every year, Senator Coons fights to secure strong federal funding for important programs that help conserve and protect our nation’s rivers, wetlands, coasts and other valuable natural resources. These include the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, the Chesapeake Bay Program, the National Estuary Program, the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund (NAWCA), the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the National Coastal Resilience Fund, and conservation programs at the Department of Agriculture.
  • In the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Senator Coons fought to expand access to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for beginning farmers and create additional opportunities for farmers on Delmarva through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

“I’m extremely honored to receive this recognition from the Delaware Trustees of The Nature Conservancy, who have been steadfast partners in the fight to protect our environment, improve water quality in Delaware, and promote stewardship nationwide,” Senator Coons said. “Through these efforts in Congress, we have already delivered key wins on conservation for our region and our country, but I’m looking ahead to further work to deliver bipartisan solutions on climate action; protecting land, water, and wildlife; and supporting our agricultural community.”

“We present this award in recognition of your tireless leadership and co-founding of the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus and your ardent support for conservation. We applaud your determination to drive forward bipartisan climate solutions,” said Marika Steele Schoolar, Chair of the Board of Trustees for The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania and Delaware. “Now is a critical moment for breaking through the gridlock and turning real solutions into law. Your pursuit of bipartisan strategies to tackle climate challenges and your continuous efforts to protect and enhance the Chesapeake Bay will ensure a more resilient, and more hopeful, future for the residents of Delaware and for our country.”

The full letter is provided here and below.

Dear Senator Coons,

During this time of great difficulty for the American people and for people around the world, it is important to look to the future for hope and reassurance. Leaders like you fuel that hope. And so, it is with great pleasure that The Nature Conservancy presents you with our highest honor, the Conservation Leadership Award. We present this award in recognition of your tireless leadership and co-founding of the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus and your ardent support for conservation. We applaud your determination to drive forward bipartisan climate solutions. Now is a critical moment for breaking through the gridlock and turning real solutions into law. Your pursuit of bipartisan strategies to tackle climate challenges and your continuous efforts to protect and enhance the Chesapeake Bay will ensure a more resilient, and more hopeful, future for the residents of Delaware and for our country. 

We deeply appreciate your sponsorship, and co-sponsorship, of several critical bills for the environment. Your work on the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act of 2017 doubled funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and created more opportunities for the agricultural community to benefit from that program. Through this effort and similar policies, your work has secured significant funding and resources that have dramatically improved the Bay’s health and health and livelihoods of those who depend upon it.

Your contributions to land conservation, including your enthusiastic support for fully funding and permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and your co-sponsorship of the newly introduced Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), has and will continue to directly provide ecological, social and economic benefits across Delaware and the country. We are deeply grateful for your ongoing commitment to this cause. Some of my favorite pastimes include hiking the trails of Brandywine Creek State Park and First State National Park and birding at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. The LWCF protects and preserves these beautiful and valuable places today and for future generations. Beyond recreational opportunities, these places are home to a vibrant array of native plants and animals, provide us with resilience to climate change, and help deliver clean water and air that underpin the region’s economy.

Lands conserved through LWCF also help safeguard our communities and infrastructure. Protected areas provide critical living laboratories, which demonstrate ways nature enhances human communities’ resilience. These laboratories teach us how to adapt to rising waters caused by climate change and how to prevent the worst impacts of flooding. Preserving these areas reduces safety and economic risks to our communities and infrastructure. 

Conserved lands also contribute billions to Delaware’s economy; the outdoor recreation industry alone is directly responsible for 29,000 jobs which generate $959 million is wages and salaries. This industry also produces $3.1 billion in annual consumer spending in Delaware and generates $145 million each year in state and local tax revenue.

Your leadership has been so essential to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends. We extend our sincerest thanks from all of our members, volunteer leaders and staff and we look forward to a continued partnership with you.

Sincerely,

Marika Steele Schoolar
Chair, Board of Trustees
The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania and Delaware 

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