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Prestigious Award Recognizes Linda Stanley’s Outstanding Natural Areas Contributions

Released on Friday, March 22, 2024

Contact Information

  • Zoe Shark, Natural Areas Public Engagement Manager, 970-221-6311,, Website: Website


  • Media image thumbnail
    Awardee Linda Stanley and Councilmember Kelly Ohlson at the Natural Areas Volunteer Appreciation Event March 21, 2024

The Kelly Ohlson Natural Areas Conservation Award was presented to Linda Stanley on March 21 at the Natural Areas Volunteer Appreciation Event.

The award honors individuals who have brought about significant victories and contributions to conservation. The award also honors the personal sacrifices that are often required to further the critical land protection cause. The inaugural Ohlson Conservation Award was presented to its namesake in 2022 and it is only presented occasionally to recognize especially distinguished people and efforts.

The 2024 awardee, Linda Stanley, has been a proponent of and activist for open space and natural areas conservation for three decades. She was a key leader in four successful ballot measures that have and will continue to bring hundreds of millions of dollars for the conservation of natural areas and wildlife habitat in Fort Collins and Larimer County. The ballot language in Open Space Yes! that she wrote, added an emphasis on growing the network of natural areas through land acquisitions and included a new focus on regional natural areas, which later enabled the conservation of community treasures such as Bobcat Ridge and Soapstone Prairie natural areas.

When it was time to gather thousands of signatures for the ballot measures funding natural areas, Linda Stanley dedicated much of her free time to the effort, even competing to get the most signatures with fellow advocates to inspire each other. And once the measure was on the ballot, Linda served as the campaign manager, spokesperson, communications and marketing director and numerous other roles for the citizen group working to pass the initiative.

Linda Stanley also helped advise Fort Collins City Council on natural areas matters as a board member on the Land Conservation and Stewardship Board and Larimer County’s Open Lands Advisory Board for a total of 19 years of City and County volunteer board service. She also volunteers as a Natural Areas Volunteer Ranger Assistant.

Since the implementation of the 2006 ballot that Linda Stanley was instrumental in writing and passing, Open Space Yes!, almost 24,000 acres have been conserved by City of Fort Collins Natural Areas- which is over half of the total acres conserved to date, funded by $133 million in dedicated sales taxes.

Linda Stanley also led other important community ballot measures such as Keep Fort Collins Great sales tax, Building on Basics sales tax, and a measure supporting the Library District.

The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department is pleased to honor such a dedicated champion for natural areas. Linda Stanley exemplifies the passionate pioneers, innovators, enthusiastic conservation supporters and distinguished activists that the Kelly Ohlson Natural Areas Conservation Award aims to highlight. Linda Stanley’s tireless efforts on behalf of natural areas conservation greatly benefit the community and her work is deeply appreciated.