Ithaca, NY – The Finger Lakes Land Trust today announced it has presented its Conservationist of the Year Award to forest entomologist Mark Whitmore. Each year, the Land Trust recognizes an individual with a special commitment to conservation at its annual meeting held each spring.
Working within the Cornell University Department of Natural Resources, Mark is committed to addressing the impacts of non-native, invasive insects on the forests of New York State. He is specifically focused on the emerald ash borer and the hemlock woolly adelgid, conducting research, educating community organizations and agencies, and developing control methods.
As a resident of Ithaca and a passionate advocate for healthy forests in the Finger Lakes region, Mark has gone above and beyond the requirements of his job by volunteering his time and expertise with the Finger Lakes Land Trust. Among his many contributions, he is currently a member of the Land Trust’s Preserve Management Committee; has provided valuable guidance on control strategies for non-native, invasive insects; led informational hikes; and volunteered to monitor and document the Land Trust’s conservation easement properties.
Mark is tirelessly dedicated to making a long-lasting difference for healthy forests. His assistance to organizations all over the state has led to direct actions which are helping to safeguard the ecology of our forests, including beautiful eastern hemlock stands found in the Finger Lakes region’s gorges.
The Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 18,500 acres of our region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, majestic forest, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust today owns and manages a network of nature preserves that are open to the public and holds conservation easements on more than 120 properties that remain in private ownership.
The Land Trust focuses on protecting critical habitat and land that is important for water quality, connecting conserved lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and local residents about conservation tools and the region’s unique natural resources. The Land Trust’s service area includes 12 counties that encompass the Finger Lakes and a significant portion of the Southern Tier. Additional information on the Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org.