ST. PAUL - Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, was among six honorees who received the Trust for Public Land's seventh annual Conservation Leadership Award.

The awards, announced Wednesday, recognize outstanding support for the conservation of Minnesota's special places, from city parks to wilderness areas.

"These awards recognize leaders who do the hard work of keeping Minnesota special," said Susan Schmidt, The Trust for Public Land's Minnesota state director, in a news release. "Conservation leaders sometimes don't always get the recognition they deserve, and that's why we created these annual awards."

The awards have been in existence since 2009. The 2015 awards were announced at an event at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

Rudd, a member of the Minnesota Senate representing Aitkin and Crow Wing counties, was recognized for promoting conservation statewide and her commitment in particular to the protection of 3 miles of shoreline and 2,000 acres of land now known as Mississippi River Northwoods just northeast of Brained. Ruud serves on the Senate Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Committee, the Legislative Water Commission, and The Great Lakes Commission among other Senate committees.

Other winners were Bill Becker, outgoing executive director of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC); the Frogtown Farm Board of Directors; Phyllis Kahn, a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives representing Minneapolis; Craig Koester, academic dean at Luther Seminary in Saint Paul and a Lutheran pastor; and Russ Stark, a member of the St. Paul City Council representing Ward 4 in the northwest part of the city.

"These individuals, and those who support them, are ensuring that Minnesotans continue to enjoy beautiful places to gather, play, work, hunt, fish and enjoy nature," said Schmidt. "Minnesota is so fortunate to have such amazing conservation leaders."

Funding for the land protection projects was provided by several sources, including the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as recommended by the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), and the Outdoor Heritage Fund, as recommend by the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC).