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International Paper and The Conservation Fund Recognize and Reward Excellence

Press release from the issuing company

WASHINGTON, June 20 -- Today International Paper and The Conservation Fund recognized Keith Kirkland, the executive director of the Wolf River Conservancy, and Laura Patterson, a sixth-grade teacher in New Mexico, for their outstanding efforts to protect natural resources through leadership in conservation and education at the International Paper Environmental Excellence Awards. Awards for excellence in partnership and education, each accompanied by an unrestricted $10,000 grant from the International Paper Company Foundation, were presented at the National Press Club in Washington. Senator Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) delivered the keynote address. David Liebetreu, International Paper's Vice President of Forest Resources, and Lawrence Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund, presented the awards. "I am pleased that International Paper and The Conversation Fund make it a priority to recognize individuals such as Keith Kirkland and Laura Patterson for their outstanding contributions to the conservation effort," said Senator Collins. "Acknowledging the dedication of these two individuals highlights the importance of the work IP and The Conservation Fund do to promote conservation education and partnerships." The Conservation Partnership Award honors an individual who has achieved significant results in the protection of habitat through a cooperative relationship with a business or company, while the Environmental Education Award honors an educator who has developed an innovative approach to environmental education that significantly improves student comprehension of environmental issues, fosters an understanding of the link between environmental protection and economic growth, demonstrates leadership and inspires achievement. Keith Kirkland, the 2006 IP Conservation Partnership recipient, was recognized for his work directing a successful eleventh-hour partnership to save the Ghost River Section of the Wolf River in Tennessee after the area was marked for development. He is working to raise funds for the Wolf River Restoration Project and developing a fundraising campaign to extend river protection into rapidly growing Fayette County. "On behalf of the Wolf River Conservancy, I am very grateful to International Paper and The Conservation Fund for their recognition and support," said Mr. Kirkland. "The Conservancy plans to use the $10,000 award to protect more Wolf River lands." "Mr. Kirkland's remarkable commitment to forging and utilizing effective partnerships will ensure a conservation legacy for wildlife and people along the Wolf River," Selzer said. The 2006 IP Environmental Education recipient, Laura M. Patterson, was honored for her innovative response to the Cerro Grande Fire in Los Alamos, N.M. After leading students and fellow teachers to restore and improve the fire-damaged Quemazon Nature Trail, Ms. Patterson wrote an interdisciplinary, field-based fire ecology curriculum, later adopted by other schools in northern New Mexico and recognized nationally. "Thanks to International Paper's generous support, I look forward to providing further opportunities for students to participate in hands-on service learning projects and increasing statewide and national awareness about fire ecology and drought-affected communities," said Ms. Patterson. "Ms. Patterson's leadership, creativity and commitment to education are making an indelible mark on her students and their community," Selzer said. "Both Keith and Laura demonstrate International Paper's passion for protecting natural resources. It is a privilege to recognize individuals who have made such exceptional conservation and environmental contributions to their communities," said Liebetreu. "Thanks to the generous support of the International Paper Company Foundation, today we celebrate the successes of two conservation heroes. Mr. Kirkland and Ms. Patterson remind us of the power of partnerships and the importance of innovation and personal commitment," said Selzer. "The Conservation Fund is especially pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with International Paper, whose extraordinary commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable forestry should be applauded."