The conservation practices of electric co-op consumer-members Keith and Shelly Pankey and their children on their ranch in Moffat and Routt counties earned them the annual Colorado Leopold Conservation Award. The award is sponsored, in part, by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the power supplier for 17 of the state’s 22 electric co-ops.
The award is given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold and recognizes ranchers, farmers and forestland owners who inspire others with their voluntary conservation efforts on private, working lands.
The Pankey family, who raises beef cattle, has always done right by their land. That was tested when a wildfire burned nearly half of their ranch in 2018. The family then cleaned their ponds and reseeded native grasses on 900 acres. They also replaced wind-powered well pumps with solar pumps, added new water storage tanks and miles of natural flow pipelines to expand the number of watering stations and improve the ability to properly graze cattle while also creating wildlife habitat.
The family’s commitment to conservation is an inspiration.