Pheasants Forever’s Rebecca Burton Bestowed Hugh Hammond Bennett Regional Planner of the Year Award

Pheasants Forever team member Rebecca Burton has been recognized as the Hugh Hammond Bennett (HBB) Southwest Regional Planner of the Year Award winner. The honor was announced by the National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP) at the National Association of Conservation Districts annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, in mid-February.

The NCPP created the HHB Awards for Conservation Excellence in 2017 to honor the legacy of Hugh Hammond Bennett, an individual revered as the “Father of Soil Conservation” for his leadership and dedication to the resource. Bennett served as the first Chief of the Soil Conservation Service (now Natural Resources Conservation Service), within the US Department of Agriculture. His memory through the award recognizes producers and conservation planners who have exemplified outstanding service through development and implementation of sound conservation planning and implementation. 

“Rebecca is a deserving candidate for the Hugh Hammond Bennett award due to her wide-reaching conservation planning across northwest Colorado,” said Chad Cherefko, area conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and award nominator. “She puts forth immeasurable effort, going above and beyond to implement conservation on the ground and provide technically sound projects for producers. Rebecca has made a lasting impact for local producers, her colleagues, school-age kids, and the greater landscape of Colorado's northwest corner.” 

Burton has served as a private lands conservationist in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in northwest Colorado since 2019. Embedded in her community as a go-to resource for rangeland and wildlife planning, she works on projects in varying size and scope including creation and improvement of sage grouse habitat, restoration of elk migration corridors, and increasing reliable water sources for wildlife-use during times of extreme drought. In recent years, Burton has been crucial to the large-scale effort in Moffat County to restore riparian and wet meadow habitats in sagebrush steppe and rangelands. Additionally, she has played a key role in organizing and leading multifaceted restoration projects with many key partners, and presenting on restoration topics to other states who’ve requested her.
“Rebecca has been a valuable member of our team in Colorado. She has worked tirelessly to put countless acres of habitat on the ground in the last four years. This award shows the commitment Rebecca has to great work, and her ability to work in partnership with key agencies and individuals in Colorado,” said Michael Peyton, Pheasants Forever’s Colorado state coordinator.

For more information about planning and implementing landscape level conservation projects in northwest Colorado, contact private lands conservationist Rebecca Burton at (307) 329-8536 or  

About Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever make up the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. This community of more than 420,000 members, supporters and partners is dedicated to the protection of our uplands through habitat improvement, public access, education and advocacy. A network of 754 local chapters spread across North America determine how 100 percent of their locally raised funds are spent — the only national conservation organization that operates through this grassroots structure. Since its creation in 1982, the organization has dedicated more than $1 billion to 575,000+ habitat projects benefiting 24 million acres.

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