Ausbon Sargent Director Honored with Sarah Thorne Award

April 5, 2008





Concord, N.H., April 2008—In recognition of her two decades of exemplary leadership of the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust (ASLPT), Debbie Stanley was presented with the Sarah Thorne Conservation Award at the 7th annual Saving Special Places Conference, held in Sutton this year.


The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society) created the award in 2005 in recognition of the work of Sarah Thorne, a Forest Society staff member who dedicated 20 years of her career to land conservation in New Hampshire. The award celebrates the many people who make successful land conservation happen in the state of New Hampshire. Recipients are intended to be people who, in the course of their own conservation efforts, have also enhanced the capacity of others to accomplish land conservation.


Stanley, executive director of ASLPT, not only established the regional land trust but guided its growth for more than 20 years. Initially she was the only paid employee; today now she oversees several employees and committees, including fund raising, easement stewardship, publicity, and just about everything else that needs to be done. Working with town officials and conservation commissions, Stanley has been able to address common priorities in addressing growth and development challenges in land protection.

“Her quiet, competent, persuasive way has brought an idealistic dream into a successful, trusted, conservation organization that serves 12 towns,” noted Dijit Taylor in presenting the award. Taylor is the Director of the Center for Land Conservation Assistance (CLCA), a program of the Forest Society.

Previous recipients of the award include Phil Auger, extension educator; Meade Cadot, executive director of the Harris Center for Conservation Education; Margaret Watkins, executive director of the Piscataquog Watershed Association; and the late Marjory Swope, Executive Director of the NH Association of Conservation Commissions.

More than 250 land conservation professionals and volunteers attended the 7th annual Saving Special Places conference this year. The Saving Special Places conference is organized by the CLCA working together with the UNH Cooperative Extension and the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning. Other sponsors this year included New Hampshire Conservation Real Estate, Bank of America, and the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust.


Each year, the Saving Special Places conference provides information and support to anyone who might be interested in learning more about, or doing more towards conserving land. Attendees in the past have included volunteers or staff from local or regional land trusts, members of town conservation commissions or open space committees, land use professionals from state or federal agencies, and private consultants.



The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests ( is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. The Forest Society’s Center for Land Conservation Assistance was established to help aid land trusts and municipalities achieve their land conservation goals. In order to preserve the quality of life New Hampshire residents know today, the goal of the Forest Society, in partnership with other conservation organizations, private landowners, and government, is to conserve an additional one million acres of the state’s most significant natural lands for trails, parks, farms and forests by 2026.