Trail conversationist honored

Larry Smith, founding board member and executive director of the nationally recognized Jacksonville Woodlands Association, has received the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution's highest conservation award.

A certificate and conservation medal were presented Thursday during a ceremony held at the Jacksonville Branch Library.

Since the association was established in 1989, Smith and others have helped protect 21 wooded parcels totaling 320 acres and constructed 14 miles of hiking and interpretive trails in the woods surrounding Jacksonville.

Criteria for the NSDAR award include outstanding volunteer record in educational work; distinguished teaching; major replanting efforts by an individual; wildlife and nature center work; resource management; youth leadership; and conservation related media work.

Smith was an elementary school teacher in Jacksonville for 33 years, teaching hands-on involvement in community and helping students take part in trail maintenance, painting bridges, planting trees, etc. His students spoke to the City Council, wrote letters and formed an organization closely associated with the Jacksonville Woodlands.

He has spent more than 23 years with Crater Lake National Park, leading groups and teaching about the park, and he was instrumental in helping protect the Gentner's fritillary, an endangered flower that grows only in parts of Jackson and Josephine counties.

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