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BMAP's Annual Bur Oak Award for Excellence in Private Land Stewardship is awarded to a BMAP Member who has undertaken or recently completed a project that makes outstanding progress in protecting or restoring native biodiversity.


Celebrating the efforts of exemplary BMAP members

The bur oak tree, with its thick, corky bark survived the frequent fires of the oak savanna in precolonial times. The bur oak represents both the dominant native plant community of the region, and symbolizes persistence in the face of adversity.


This annual award recognizes BMAP landowners who have dedicated themselves to the restoration and stewardship of native habitat on private lands. Excellence in private land stewardship is shown by the degree of leadership and innovation in the project's approach, sensitivity to the local landscape, and enhancement of the habitat of threatened, endangered or special concern species or rare plant communities.

Bur Oak Awardees

John Barnes, DVM, & Kel Mattice

2021 Bur Oak Award

The 200-acre Prairie Spirit Wildlife Sanctuary was a working farm when John first purchased it in 1972. "We transitioned the farm from dairy, to beef, to crops and pasture rental, and finally to a restoration," John says.

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