Peter McKeever Honored with Wisconsin’s 2020 Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award

An older white man standing outside in front of a large fir tree.

Peter McKeever’s passion for land protection and his skills as an attorney have made an extraordinary and lasting contribution to the land conservation community across Wisconsin. His lifelong dedication to land and water protection in Wisconsin earned him the honor and recognition of the 2020 Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award. The presentation of the award to Peter was delayed due to the pandemic and occurred on May 18, 2022 at the Wisconsin Land Trust Conference, during the evening reception at Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Monona, WI.

For the last 30 years, Peter McKeever, an attorney, has helped people understand and apply the laws and regulations guiding land use, real estate, and environmental protection. He has worked with over 20 Wisconsin land trusts and countless other conservation organizations, offering sound legal advice to permanently protect thousands of acres of precious land and water resources.

“Peter is a skilled and respected attorney, who brings a sense of humor, compassion, generosity, and an air of mutual respect to his work,” said Terrie Cooper, Community Conservation Director, Door County Land Trust. “He’s one of the few attorneys in the state with the intimate knowledge and skills needed to address the unique challenges land trusts face.”

Peter’s commitment to land protection was clear early in his career. After earning a Master’s Degree and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School, Peter had many career options. Instead of joining a large law firm, he dedicated himself to public interest work.

After 12 years in Green Bay where he volunteered with numerous conservation organizations, he became the State Director and a Vice President of The Wisconsin Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. He helped lead an effort to raise $14 million in three years to Protect Wisconsin’s Last Great Places. During his 10-year tenure at The Nature Conservancy, the chapter protected over 19,000 acres in Wisconsin. He also served on the Governor’s Blue-Ribbon Task Force in 1997 and he served for many years on the Department of Natural Resources Stewardship Program Advisory Council.

After leaving The Nature Conservancy, Peter formed Heart Lake Conservation Associates and consulted with land trusts and other conservation organizations, later joining the Conservation Consulting Group. He also was associated with the Madison law firm Garvey McNeil and Associates for fifteen years, representing citizens on a wide variety of environmental and land use issues and disputes. Today, as a solo practitioner, he devotes his law practice to helping landowners, nonprofit land trusts, and other environmental organizations find creative solutions to reach their land protection goals.

“Peter offers professional and experienced legal guidance to the land trust community at very reasonable rates,” said Rose Phillips, Executive Director of Glacial Lakes Conservancy. “His services make it clear that he truly cares about protecting Wisconsin’s natural resources. It’s more than his work; it’s his passion and his legacy.”

In addition to his work as an attorney, Peter and his wife donated a conservation easement on their 75 acres of woods and wetlands on the Deerskin River in Vilas County to Northwoods Land Trust in 2015.

Peter also served six years as an elected alderman in Monona, Wisconsin, and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission. These positions give him insight into community conservation needs.

Peter continues to promote land protection by offering excellent legal counsel and taking part in conservation efforts at state, regional, and national levels. His effectiveness at enabling non-confrontational and solution-based outcomes leads to success when working with nonprofit boards, elected officials, and public agencies.