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Conservationist honored for his work to protect Los Altos Hills landmarks

By Kellie Schmitt
Mercury News

Conservationist Huey Johnson, center, with Mary Stegner, left, widow of writer and environmentalist Wallace Stegner, and Rep. Anna Eshoo at an event to honor Johnson on Sunday.

Huey Johnson, a longtime conservationist, was honored Sunday in Los Altos Hills for "outstanding work in local conservation" after playing a key role in the fight for the permanent protection of Westwind Barn and Byrne Preserve in Los Altos Hills.

Mary Stegner, widow of writer and environmentalist Wallace Stegner, and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, presented the award to Johnson at an event sponsored by the League of Women Voters at Congregation Beth Am.

Johnson became involved with the case when several members of the city council mentioned developing a town-owned property to raise town funds. Johnson inspired town leaders to bring the issue to the attention of the overall community partially through editorial writing, castigating the council for "compromising protected lands because of greed."

Nancy Couperus, a member of the Committee for Los Altos Hills Open Space, said Johnson gave the group the inspiration to mount an initiative that would protect the town's properties. Johnson said his work will serve as an example to communities nationwide to stand up for heritage lands.

Johnson received the United Nations' 2001 Sasakawa Environment Prize, the highest honor given to an environmentalist. He started his career in conservation as the first Western regional director of the Nature Conser- vancy. Later, he helped found the Trust for Public Land, served as the Secretary of Resources for California, and started the Resource Renewal Institute.

 

Contact Kellie Schmitt at kschmitt@sjmercury.com or (650) 688-7558


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