February 11, 2010 -- The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. (USPC) has announced the recipients of 2010 The Brookfield Conservation Award for Pony Clubs, which was presented at the the USPC annual meeting in Houston, Texas, on January 29.
The two recipients of the 2010 Brookfield Award are the Fox River Valley Pony Club of Barrington, Ill., and Morgan Staudinger, an H-B member of the Mill Creek Pony Club.
The Fox River Valley Pony Club, the first recipient of the Brookfield Conservation Award for 2010, has partnered with a local group, the Riding Club of Barrington Hills, and together they have had a significant impact on trail clearing and maintenance in the area around Barrington Hills, which includes public and private land, as well as event courses in the Spring Creek section of the Cook County Forest Preserve.
Local conservation groups including the Spring Creek Stewards and the Region Director of the Chicago Audubon Society assisted the Pony Club members in learning about good stewardship of the land, as well as how their efforts will make a difference for the future use of the land.
Young Pony Club members from the Fox River Valley Pony Club have adopted an area of the Forest Preserve that surrounds the water complex on the Horse Trials cross-country course, and have removed hundreds of buckthorn shrubs and other harmful plants, making the land healthier for plants, birds and animals.
The second award recipient, Morgan Staudinger of Mill Creek Pony Club, took on a project at the Longview Horse Park in Missouri. A portion of the cross-country course had become unusable due to heavy rains and poor drainage. By creating a lane through the swampy area by installing pipes and rock, Morgan was able to divert the water from the course, thereby making the Beginner Novice course usable again. The true test of Staudinger's work came during the Longview Horse Trials, where all of the horses successfully navigated the culvert and were able ride through the lane to jumps that were once inaccessible.
"I would like to congratulate the Fox River Valley Pony Club and Morgan for their commitment to land conservation," said Dr. John R. van Nagell. "I hope that the Brookfield Conservation Award will result in more protected land on which future generations can enjoy equine sports."
The Brookfield Conservation Award is funded by Dr. and Mrs. John R. van Nagell MFH, and is named in honor of their historic 2,000 acre Brookfield Farm near Lexington, Ky. In 2000, Brookfield was placed in the Bluegrass Conservancy by Betsy and Jack van Nagell, thereby preserving its land for agriculture, equine activities and wildlife.
The Brookfield Conservation Award is an annual cash award, which is presented at the USPC Annual Meeting to a club, region or individual who demonstrates hard work and dedication towards land conservation, preservation and stewardship. Activities for the award can include educational efforts, or participation in group activities both with equine or land conservation organizations. For specific award criteria and more information, visit the Pony Club web site at www.ponyclub.org.
The United States Pony Clubs, Inc., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit national youth organization to teach riding and horsemanship through a formal educational program. Members range in age from as young as 4 through age 25. Activities are English-riding based, and members ride both horses and ponies, depending on the size of the rider and the discipline in which he or she is competing.
There are approximately 10,000 members of USPC in 600 clubs and centers throughout the country. Along with an emphasis on helping members learn to ride and care for horses, Pony Club promotes teamwork, a sense of responsibility, safety, good moral judgment and self-confidence.