On August 19, 2023, Vision Hudson Valley awarded Jim Delaune, Executive Director of the Orange County Land Trust with the 2023 Graham Skea Quality of Life Award at its Summer Jubilee.
Vision Hudson Valley created this award to honor Graham M. Skea in recognition of his many contributions both to this organization and the community as a whole. Graham was always a strong advocate for public/private partnerships, lending his skills to a multitude of countywide organizations. His dedication to numerous projects and causes has been recognized by many of those organizations, all of which are too numerous to name, in addition, he received many national, regional, and state professional honors during his career. The recipients of the Graham Skea Award need to exemplify Graham’s qualities and Jim Delaune of the Orange County Land Trust does just that.
Jim’s career began with the City of Newburgh’s Community Development Agency where he served for 20 years and ultimately became the Executive Director (ED). In his capacity as ED, Jim was responsible for the redevelopment of the Newburgh Waterfront, inducing Orange County Community College to locate a satellite campus in the City and he successfully undertook numerous affordable housing and historic preservation projects.
He has held the position of Executive Director of the Orange County Land Trust since 2006. In his time as Executive Director, the Orange County Land Trust has protected in excess of 6,500 acres which includes portions of Sterling Forest, numerous working farms, and in the near future Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Jim continues being active throughout the community, serving as a board member of the Ulster County Soil and Water District, D and H Canal Museum, and Town of New Paltz Community Preservation Committee. Jim also sits on the board of the Chester Agricultural Center, which provides affordable farmland and infrastructure to beginning organic and biodynamic farmers, making farming more accessible to those who otherwise could not afford it.
Additionally, Jim served three terms in the Ulster County Legislature where he chaired the Legislative Programs Committee.
While enjoying the many activities throughout the day, attendees of this year’s Summer Jubilee were treated to an update on the Orange County Land Trust’s progress on Sugar Loaf Mountain from Orange County Executive, Steve Neuhaus.
“It was an honor to recognize Jim with this prestigious award,” said Kaitlynn Lancellotti, Executive Director of Vision Hudson Valley. “Jim’s dedication to the Hudson Valley region throughout his career and his community involvement is why he is so deserving of the 2023 Graham Skea Award.”