DAVIDSON – North Carolina Land Trusts recognized the town as the Government Partner of the Year on April 28 for its conservation and open space initiatives.

The award was presented during the annual N.C. Land Trust Assembly in Pine Knoll Shores.

“In Davidson, we try to approach things in a sustainable way, and conservation is one of our primary tenets,” Town Manager Leamon Brice said. “It is important for us to balance growth and conservation.”

The 24 participating land trusts gave awards for businesses, nonprofits, governments, individuals and organizations for efforts to protect streams, lakes, forests, farms, parks and wildlife habitats.

Davidson was nominated by the Davidson Lands Conservancy because of its mission to preserve open space and the hundreds of acres of parks and miles of greenways, according to the Conservation Trust for North Carolina.

The town has 167 acres of parkland and 3.8 miles of developed greenway, with a commitment for the establishment of at least three more miles. The town also has 700 contiguous acres protected by conservation easements. The town was also recognized for being bicycle and pedestrian friendly and its focus on the health of residents.

The town board guides decisions based on the Davidson planning ordinance, which received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Smart Growth Award in 2004.

“We will continue to use the planning ordinance to promote conservation and work with our community partner, the Davidson Lands Conservancy, on conservation in new developments,” Brice said.

The town’s planning provides for ways to maintain and preserve open space, preserve underdeveloped rural areas, work with neighboring jurisdictions to preserve open space, minimize development impacts on ecosystems and protect scenic views along greenways and roads.

“Through its development ordinances, stream buffer protections, tree canopy policies and other progressive actions, the town will continue to pursue its adopted goal of protecting 50 percent of its area as open space,” Executive Director of Davidson Lands Conservancy Roy Alexander is quoted as saying in the statement.