The Nature Conservancy and Journal Publications Inc. are accepting nominations for the inaugural Investing in Nature Awards, according to a recent press release. The statewide program recognizes and honors exemplary company initiatives in Pennsylvania that are improving the bottom line while achieving tangible, lasting conservation results.

“Pennsylvania has long been considered a leader of industry — strong in technology, manufacturing, agriculture and service. It has also been a keystone of conservation, working to protect millions of acres of natural areas for future generations to enjoy,” said Bill Kunze, Pennsylvania State Director for the Conservancy. “Today it also is a leader in building a new, green economy that supports the natural world while creating jobs and investment in our future.”

“Our Investing in Nature program,” explained Kunze, “will recognize Pennsylvania business initiatives that model strong conservation practices to improve the health of our world and our economy, thus helping to accomplish the mission of the Nature Conservancy to preserve life on Earth.”

An independent panel of judges will evaluate the nominations and determine the finalists in each of the seven categories: Energy Conservation Initiatives, Natural Resource Management, Green Building Design/Construction/Planning, Environmental Education Initiatives, Innovative New Environmental Technologies, Sustainable Agriculture, and Ecotourism. The members of the judging panel will review initiatives for effectiveness, measurability, and efficient utilization of resources.

Up to 35 finalists will be recognized, and the winners in each category will be announced at an awards banquet on April 13, 2009, at the Hilton Harrisburg, Harrisburg, Pa. In addition, all finalists and award recipients will be profiled in a special publication distributed at the event and statewide to 25,000 business owners and CEOs immediately after the event.

Nominations are limited to organizations that are headquartered in, or have significant operations in, the state of Pennsylvania. The nomination deadline is Wednesday, January 21, 2009. For more information and to download a nomination form, Nomination forms are also available for download