Conservation Champion Bill Horne Awarded 2022 Katchen Coley Award for Excellence in Conservation by the Connecticut Land Conservation Council

The Branford Land Trust (BLT) is thrilled to announce that Bill Horne has been awarded the 2022 Katchen Coley Award for Excellence in Conservation by the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC). This prestigious award recognizes “an individual fiercely devoted to land conservation whose long-term volunteer service has furthered the work of one or more conservation organizations and serves as an inspiration to others to continue to ‘fight the good fight’ with passion and tenacity in support of land conservation and the environment.”

We hope you will join us, the CLCC, and local officials and representatives, for a special award ceremony to be held on Tuesday, August 30, 4:00 p.m. at DeLeo Field, 156 Laurel Hill Road, Branford. The ceremony will feature an award presentation and music, followed by a guided hike at Pieper Woods.

Register here:

Carpooling is highly encouraged, as parking spaces are limited. We’ll be in an open field, so please wear comfortable shoes and socks, bring a lawn chair if you’d like, consider a hat and bug spray. Bring a refillable water bottle as no plastic water bottles will be given out.

“As a longtime leader of the Branford Land Trust and community volunteer, Bill has been and continues to be a dedicated and determined advocate for the conservation of open space, wetlands, and other natural resources in Branford,” said Amy Blaymore Paterson, Executive Director of the CLCC. “His reputation for bringing a thoughtful and strategic perspective to local land use issues has garnered trust and respect as a land conservation leader not only locally, but throughout the state. ”

During the nearly 30 years since Bill began volunteering with the land trust, the BLT has had many successes, more than doubling the amount of land it protects. During the same period, the BLT obtained conservation easements on eight properties totaling 328 acres.

Bill started attending BLT board meetings in the mid-1990s. He co-chaired the Property Management committee from 1995-1997, was elected to the BLT’s Board of Directors in 1996, and served as President from 1997 until 2002. From 2004-2013, he served once again as BLT’s Director. Since 2013, Bill has remained very active in the BLT. He still makes nearly all the monthly board meetings, has been active on the BLT’s Acquisition Committee and Property Management Committee, is generally in charge of 2-3 major BLT projects at any given time, and provides advisory support on issues that require his breadth of institutional knowledge.

“Few people in the history of the Town of Branford have had such a far-reaching impact and an everlasting legacy as that of Bill Horne,” said Richard Shanahan, Chair, Branford Parks and Open Space Authority, and the Town’s Select Committee on Open Space Acquisition. “Bill’s accomplishments have had and will continue to have, a significant impact on the character of the Town for generations to come.”

In the late 1990s, Bill helped lead citizen opposition to the proposed development of the Queach property, approximately 215 acres of environmentally sensitive land located in the Pisgah Brook/Supply Pond sub-watershed of the Branford River between two large Town-owned open space preserves. Toward the end of this period, Bill co-chaired the Conservation Commission with Karyl Lee Hall, an attorney with the Connecticut Legal Rights Project.

Whereas most people would have claimed success with the Queach acquisition, Bill was just starting. He played a crucial role in orchestrating the acquisition of Saltonstall Mountain, Pieper Woods, and the DeLeo property on which the awards ceremony will take place. He also shepherded the purchase of the development rights of Johnson Farm by the Connecticut Farmland Trust.

As former BLT president Joan Merrick notes, “Bill’s achievements are remarkable on their own, but the way he has achieved them are equally admirable…The land trust and the town of Branford have benefited immensely from his informed and honest approach.”

Bill has had a profound influence on the way committees and commissions remain faithful to their responsibilities in representing the best interests of the Town for the long term. “It’s difficult to think of someone who has been more impactful, more thoughtful and thorough in his thinking and easier to work with than Bill,” said Louise La Montaigne, former BLT president

Bill has the uncommon combination of both the technical skills to review a detailed proposal and the interpersonal skills to convince people of the importance of land conservation. He attends to the smallest details of each project but can also place it in its larger scientific, social, and political context. He has the drive and determination to continue this very challenging work in the face of tremendous development pressure along the shoreline.

The BLT has deep gratitude for Bill’s work, admiration for his substantial successes, and respect for the way in which he engages with others – both allies and opponents. There is no one more deserving of the Katchen Coley Award for Excellence in Conservation — we hope you will help us celebrate!

The Connecticut Land Conservation Council advocates for land conservation, stewardship and funding, and works to ensure the long-term strength and viability of the land conservation community. For more information, visit

The Branford Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, accredited by the Land Trust Alliance, established in 1967 to protect Branford’s open space and natural resources. Run by volunteers and supported by member families and businesses, the Land Trust manages and protects over 1,000 acres in more than 130 parcels and holds conservation easements on another 400 acres in Branford. For more information, visit

Photo reprinted with permission from Richard Esposito, Caprisio, LLC.,