The Hawthorn Foundation’s Conservation and Preservation program is designed to promote conservation of lands in Wyoming by retaining or protecting the natural, scenic or open space values of real property; assuring the availability of real property for agricultural, forest, recreational or open space use; and protecting natural resources. We hope to achieve these conservation purposes by either:
- accepting donations of conservation easements, or
- accepting outright donations of land.
We will focus on lands that epitomize Wyoming’s natural beauty or that serve as valuable, relatively natural habitat for regional wildlife.
In the case of a donated conservation easement, the property would remain in the hands of the landowner. The land would be encumbered according to the terms of a legal document requiring the Hawthorn Foundation to ensure that the conservation values of the land are perpetually protected from subdivision, commercial development, or other activities that would be inconsistent with the conservation values of the land. The terms of the conservation easement would be decided by the landowner and the Hawthorn Foundation. Because the Hawthorn Foundation is a private foundation, an income tax deduction is not available to the donor of a conservation easement to the Hawthorn Foundation. Therefore, donations of conservation easements to the Hawthorn Foundation are better suited to landowners who may not have a significant income tax motivation for their donations, but rather are more interested in having their lands protected by local people that understand the Wyoming way of life.
In the event a landowner wants to make an outright donation of land to the Hawthorn Foundation in order to protect the conservation values of the land, the landowner and the Hawthorn Foundation would meet to decide certain matters. The donated lands would be put to use for a charitable purpose, such as educational programs for geological, biological, agricultural or ecological field studies, or for establishing an artist retreat, or allowing public recreation in a manner that is consistent with the conservation purposes of the land. A landowner considering a donation of land would be consulted as to any proposed charitable use before a donation is made. In addition, the potential landowner/donor and the Hawthorn Foundation would decide on the terms of a conservation easement that would be placed on the land in the event that the Hawthorn Foundation ever transferred the property to another owner. In this manner, a donor would know that the conservation values of the donated land would be perpetually protected according to his wishes.