WASHINGTON, DC -

An independent research center will honor a Montana conservationist for his work in protecting land from development.

The Environmental Law Institute will award Tim Swanson with the 2012 National Wetlands Award for Conservation and Restoration.

Swanson is the former program director at the Nature Conservancy's southwest Montana office.

The research center credits Swanson with helping to protect almost 70,000 acres of land, including more than 11,000 acres of critical wetland habitat. They also say he built trust and confidence in southwest Montana's ranching community.

Swanson is set to receive the award at a ceremony at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, DC on May 10, 2012.