Legacy Land Conservancy volunteer named 2024 Petoskey Prize recipient

The Michigan Environmental Council is pleased to announce that Sandy Sorini Elser has been selected as the 2024 recipient of the Petoskey Prize for Environmental Leadership. The prize recognizes volunteer activists whose outstanding grassroots environmental leadership is marked by commitment, creativity and courage. Sandy was nominated by Environmental Council member Legacy Land Conservancy (LLC), where she has logged over 500 volunteer hours.

“I'm thrilled that Sandy has been selected as this year's Petoskey Prize winner for her outstanding volunteerism," said Abby Wallace, movement building coordinator for the Environmental Council. "Her involvement with not just one but two Environmental Council member groups—Legacy Land Conservancy and League of Women Voters—exemplifies her unwavering commitment to preserving our environment and supporting civic engagement."

Founded in 1971, LLC works to protect lands designated for nature, agriculture, fresh water and recreation—for generations current and future–in Washtenaw, Jackson and Lenawee Counties. They work with individuals, landowners, organizations and local government to protect forests, prairies, farms, wetlands and waters across this region. Since the group’s inception they have protected nearly 10,000 acres of land in the greater Washtenaw and Jackson areas.

Sandy began working with LLC in 2010, deploying her background in real estate and municipal law to help the organization on key acquisition projects and environmental easements, which place protective limitations on the uses of specific land in an effort to help enhance wildlife habitat, ensure cleaner water and increase biodiversity.

As the Ann Arbor Township attorney, she drafted the purchase of development rights ordinance and millage proposals that have helped Ann Arbor Township preserve over 1,000 acres of farmland and open space.

Sandy now spends much of her time volunteering with non-profit, non-partisan organizations such as the League of Women Voters, Voters Not Politicians, and most importantly, Legacy Land Conservancy.

“Sandy has worked for years to provide education about environmental issues in Michigan,” said executive director Diana Kern for Legacy Land Conservancy. “As a partner for Bodman, LLC, Sandy focused on real estate including conservation easement drafts and other environmental defense work. Over her years of service she provided Pro-bono assistance to many nonprofits engaged in environmental causes, including Legacy Land Conservancy. Sandy believes in the practical management of land, from strategic municipal master plans to zoning rules that protect the most sensitive of our ecosystems and has been an invaluable partner to Legacy. As a board trustee, her insights are critical to Legacy's conservation agreements."

Sandy will be honored at the Petoskey Prize Dinner, happening Sunday Oct. 6, 2024, 6:30-8:30pm at Crystal Mountain Resort. If interested in attending this event, please contact Abby Wallace at [email protected].

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  • Grace Noyola
    published this page in News 2024-06-14 13:50:51 -0400