Ashland's Su Rolle wins award from Land Conservancy

The Southern Oregon Land Conservancy has presented Su Rolle of Ashland with its 2008 Conservation Award.

The nonprofit organization, now marking its 30th year, presents the award annually to honor the lifetime achievements of local people dedicated to land conservation. Rolle became the nonprofit organization's first conservation director after a long career in the U.S. Forest Service, where she worked in the Ashland and Applegate ranger districts of what was then the Rogue River National Forest.

Rolle's experience in land management was priceless, said Diane Garcia, the conservancy's executive director.

"She came at a time when our organization was really growing. She really developed a model we use to help manage the lands we hold in trust," Garcia said.

The conservancy is a land trust that seeks permanent protection of forest, agricultural, riparian and scenic lands in the Rogue Basin and surrounding areas. It holds 35 properties in trust that include more than 6,000 acres.

Garcia said Rolle "brought a lot of integrity to how we work with land owners.

"She had so many connections, and so many partners. She had no learning curve. We were learning from her. We had to rise to meet her."

Rolle earned a degree in soil science in Texas and moved to the Rogue Valley in 1979. She worked for the Ashland Ranger District in its range, wildlife, timber and recreation programs. In 1989 she became ranger on the Applegate District, where she helped found the Applegate Partnership, a group that emphasized collaborative management of forestlands.

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