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ELCR Vice President, Dan Rosenberg, presents the Robert N. Clay Conservation Award to Mackenzie Royce, Executive Director of the Bluegrass Conservancy, accepting on behalf of Helen Alexander.

In 2014 ELCR launched the Robert N. Clay Conservation Award for the Thoroughbred racing industry in partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA),

“TOBA is pleased to have established this award in partnership with ELCR to help increase awareness of the importance of land conservation to the Thoroughbred industry and to serve as an inspiration to others within the industry,” says TOBA President Dan Metzger.


Robert N. Clay Conservation Award Recipients

Helen Alexander (2014) Helen was selected as the recipient of the inaugural Robert N. Clay award because of her commitment to ensuring that the nation’s most beautiful and productive agricultural and open lands are preserved for future generations.

In addition to her conservation work with her family in the Brandywine Region of Pennsylvania, Helen is the co-founder with Robert N. Clay of the Bluegrass Conservancy (BGC) land trust in Kentucky .  She was elected as the Founding President of the BGC and has served in that capacity since its inception in 1995. Under Helen’s leadership, over 20,500 acres have been permanently protected through conservation easements.

Ms. Alexander also served on the panel that formulated the model for the Purchase of Development Rights on farmland in Fayette County, Kentucky. She helped to lead the program through its adoption and subsequently served on the PDR Board. To date 28,000 acres, including 133 horse farms, have been permanently conserved under the PDR program.

Robert Sanford (2015) Bob Sanford was selected as recipient of the Robert N. Clay Award because of his commitment to equine land conservation and ensuring equine access to public land. Mr. Sanford tackles equine land conservation on the legislative front, fighting and succeeding for legislation in North Carolina that impacts issues of the equine industry. He untiringly fights for positive change regarding legislative action, education and health issues that represent the equine community’s contribution to recreation, agriculture and the economic well-being of North Carolina.

Mr. Sanford has served in numerous leadership roles within North Carolina’s equine industry. He is currently vice president of the North Carolina Horse Council (NCHC), and previously served as president for many years. He also served on the seven-member Equine Study Executive Committee for the NCHC that released a series of equine industry recommendations in 2009. Bob owns and operates a breeding and racing farm in Northern Durham County, North Carolina. He is also a Foundation Board Member of the North Carolina State University Veterinary College and a past Board Member of the North Carolina Thoroughbred Association.