Civil War Trust Honors Civil War News Founder Kay Jorgensen and Other Preservation Champions
(Gettysburg, Pa.) – During an annual gathering of its members in Gettysburg earlier this month, the Civil War Trust recognized some of the outstanding leaders of the battlefield preservation movement. The Civil War Trust is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of Civil War, Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlegrounds.
“It is important to remember that the cause of battlefield preservation benefits from the enthusiasm and hard work of countless individuals throughout the United States,” remarked Trust president James Lighthizer. “We cannot recognize all of these unsung heroes, but through our annual preservation awards, we can acknowledge and celebrate the most outstanding champions each year.”
Since their inception in 2001, the Trust has honored a wide variety of individuals and groups for their achievements in protecting endangered Civil War battlefields with its preservation awards. Previous winners include historians, scholars, National Park Service personnel, celebrities and even residential developers. Despite such disparate backgrounds, all have given unique and lasting contributions to historic preservation. At the evening banquet, three awards were presented:
Edwin C. Bearss Lifetime Achievement Award: The Trust presented the lifetime achievement award to Kay Jorgensen, who founded the Civil War News in 1989 with her late husband Pete. The Civil War News covered countless historic stories – including the sesquicentennial of the Civil War – and engaged the heart of the historic preservation community. The award is named after its first recipient, Edwin C. Bearss, a World War II veteran and chief historian emeritus of the National Park Service, who continues to share his vast knowledge of American history well past his 90th birthday.
Shelby Foote Preservation Legacy Award: The Trust presented the preservation legacy award to Clint Schemmer, a reporter at the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star who has been writing about battlefield protection since the mid-1980s, covering key preservation successes at places like Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Brandy Station and Fredericksburg. The award is named after late historian and author Shelby Foote, who dedicated his life to educating Americans on the Civil War.
State Leadership Award: The Trust presented the State Leadership Award to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The award was accepted by the commission’s executive director, Jim Vaughan. PHMC is the official history agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which helped create a Civil War 150th Advisory Board and works to preserve land across the Commonwealth – from the Drake Oil Well, the first active oil well in the United States, to the Revolutionary War’s Brandywine battlefield outside Philadelphia.
Brian Pohanka Preservation Organization of the Year Award: Two outstanding local organizations were honored with the Trust’s Organization of the Year Award. The Princeton Battlefield Society has worked for decades to steward and interpret Princeton Battlefield State Park, and to prevent further development of the Princeton battlefield. The Land Conservancy of Adams County, founded more than 20 years ago to protect the rural lands of Adams County, Pennsylvania, has worked to preserve more than 500 acres of Gettysburg battlefield. The award is named for the late Brian Pohanka, an outstanding historian and one of the founders of the modern battlefield preservation movement.
The Civil War Trust is the largest and most effective nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of America’s hallowed battlegrounds. Although primarily focused on the protection of Civil War battlefields, through its Campaign 1776 initiative, the Trust also seeks to save the battlefields connected to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. To date, the Trust has preserved close to 43,000 acres of battlefield land in 23 states.
The Civil War Preservation Trust became the Civil War Trust in January 2011; the Civil War Trust became a division of the American Battlefield Trust in May 2018. Campaign 1776 was created in 2014 as an initiative of the Civil War Trust; in May 2018 it became the Revolutionary War Trust, a division of the American Battlefield Trust.