MANCHESTER -- Hildene has announced that this year’s recipients of the Hildene Award are Paul Bruhn of Burlington and Sarah Dopp of South Burlington. Collectively Bruhn and Dopp have dedicated more than 60 years to conserving the land and preserving the historic structures of Vermont, Bruhn with his nationally recognized leadership of the Preservation Trust of Vermont and Dopp with her dedication to grassroots conservation and preservation initiatives in Chittenden County. Both clearly fit the profile of past Hildene Award honorees as Vermonters who have made extraordinary contributions in the areas of land conservation and/or historic preservation.

Paul Bruhn has held the position of Executive Director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont since the organization was founded in 1980. During the ensuing 34 years Bruhn’s work has left an indelible imprint on the preservation community, benefiting virtually every community in Vermont and more than 1,500 of its historic buildings. In his role at PTV he has fought to keep Vermont’s village centers and downtowns vital, to preserve its natural and historic places and to prevent urban sprawl wherever possible. Paul Bruhn’s name is synonymous with historic preservation in the state of Vermont and his "can do" approach to problem solving is notable. A recent example of this is his work with post-Irene recovery efforts in the severely damaged historic village of Wilmington.


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Bruhn’s work at the state level advocating for recipients of Historic Flood Tax Credits to receive them in cash, instead of the traditional process of selling the credits to an investment company at a cost to the property owner, was extremely helpful and contributed to a speedier revitalization of the village’s historic buildings. He and the organization he leads have also been recognized nationally. He received the President’s Award from Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and under his leadership the Preservation Trust of Vermont was awarded the Trustees Award for Organization Excellence by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is clear to all who know him that preserving Vermont’s heritage for future generations is paramount to Paul Bruhn.

Sarah Dopp has been a leader in land conservation and historic preservation for more than three decades. She founded the South Burlington Land Trust in 2003 and has served as its president since then. During her tenure, the organization led a successful campaign to save the 100 acre Dorset Park Natural Area from becoming the site for a new police station. This campaign resulted in the organization receiving the first ever Environmental Courage in Leadership Award by ECHO and the Burlington Free Press.

As an advocate for historic preservation, Dopp’s imprint can be found on diverse projects. In her role as church historian for First Baptist Church of Burlington and with dedication that spanned nearly two decades, she secured two grants and led fundraising efforts that collectively account for the restoration of the church’s exterior, repairs to its steeple and restoration of the pipe organ. In the 1980’s with similar vigor and as a member of the "Save the Tower" Citizen’s Committee, Dopp helped raise the funds and organize events that led to the repair and preservation of the Ethan Allen Tower in Burlington. This passion for preservation was ever present as well during her 45 year tenure with Fletcher Allen Healthcare where she participated in projects that documented its history. She then used this history to create an exhibit that tells the hospital’s story. It is clear that while preserving these special places, Dopp has also been telling their stories. Over the years she has continued to share her experience and enthusiasm for preservation by serving in leadership positions on several local and statewide historical organizations.

Bruhn and Dopp will be feted by family, friends and colleagues at a luncheon honoring them at Hildene on Sunday, July 27, at noon. Hildene believes it is the perfect opportunity to both recognize each of their achievements and provide a time and place for the public to show their gratitude for their work. The Hildene Award, given annually to deserving Vermonters selected by Hildene’s Board of Trustees, includes a $10,000 prize that will go to a project of the recipients’ choosing. One of the highlights of the July 27th luncheon will be the announcement of the project to which Bruhn and Dopp have chosen together to gift their award.

Past Hildene Award winners include Senator James Jeffords, Darby Bradley, Linda Ramsdell and Andrea Rogers. The twin pillars of the award, land conservation and historic preservation, are intrinsically related to Hildene’s 412 acres and 14 historic buildings. Those who have been and will be honored embody Hildene’s mission of Values into Action.

This Hildene program is open to the public. If you wish to attend the luncheon, the cost is $30 per person, $20 for Hildene members and volunteers. This includes admission to Hildene for the day. Reservations are required. For more information or to make a reservation, contact Stephanie at 802-367-7960 or stephanie@hildene.org by July 21.