Special Gathering Honors Local Conservation Champion Bill Horne

“This feels like family,” said Amy Blaymore Paterson of the 60 people gathered to celebrate Bill Horne on August 30. Patterson, Executive Director of the Connecticut Land Conservation Council, was on hand to honor Horne as the recipient of the prestigious 2022 CLCC Katchen Coley Award for Excellence in Conservation.

It was a joyful celebration punctuated by laughter and broad smiles. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and State Senator Christine Cohen presented special citations from the U.S. House of Representatives and the Connecticut General Assembly, respectively. Bluegrass music provided by Tina Cunningham and BLT board member Andy Bromage included a group sing-along to This Land Is Your Land. In the crowd were Bill’s wife Lea Brilmayer and members of his immediate family, as well as his adopted family of BLT volunteers and community members with whom he has worked through the years.

The gathering was held on a sunny afternoon at DeLeo Field, a stunning 9.5-acre parcel of old field which Bill was instrumental in acquiring in one of his many roles for the BLT over the years. For the past 30 years, he has served two+ terms as president of BLT, he has been a director and chair of the Property Management committee, has been active on the BLT Acquisition Committee, and is generally in charge of 2-3 BLT projects at any given time.

During Bill’s tenure, the BLT has had many successes — more than doubling the amount of land it protects, making 74 acquisitions, and obtaining conservation easements on eight properties. Beyond the BLT, Bill was a member of the Town of Branford Conservation Commission for over a decade and served a key role on the blue-ribbon commission to advise local government about the potential impact of a pipeline across Long Island Sound.

“Bill’s accomplishments have had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on the character of the town for generations to come,” said current BLT President Julie Wagner.

“For CLCC,” Amy Paterson said, “Bill has and always will be the consummate conservation advocate to whom we have looked to for support, guidance, and inspiration in advancing land conservation efforts and polices statewide.”

The BLT has deep gratitude for Bill’s work, admiration for his successes, and respect for the way in which he engages with others. There is no one more deserving of the Katchen Coley Award for Excellence in Conservation! Congratulations Bill! (Photos by Chad Lyons)

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