Montana landscape with horses on grasslands with snowcapped mountains in background.
Montana Landscapes Horses in Montana Landscape © Jeremy Roberts/Conservation Media

Stories in Montana

The Vinary Fund

Accelerating protection of Montana’s most important lands for nature and people

The Vinary Fund enables The Nature Conservancy’s Montana chapter to respond to critical land protection needs across the state. Made possible by a lead gift from Vince and Mary Ames, the fund supports the purchase of land and conservation easements in Montana.

Mary (left) and Vince (right) Ames holding around each other in open landscape with shrubs and a mountain range in the background.
Vince and Mary Ames The Vinary Fund was made possible by a lead gift from Vince and Mary Ames. The fund name is a portmanteau of their first names – in recognition of their generosity. © Private

Vince and Mary are lifetime conservationists with strong viewpoints, but they strive to understand other perspectives. They advocate the view that our earth is home for all of us and our greatest treasure, deserving to be respected and protected. They greatly respect other individuals and organizations that make it a primary purpose to do so. Vince’s background is geology and Army service – Mary’s is real estate. They both share involvements in ranching, always with reverence for Mother Earth.

Many years ago, Vince donated a conservation easement to a 390 acre agricultural and scenic property in Yellowstone County to Montana Land Reliance. It was eventually sold to the adjoining neighbor, enlarging an existing conservation easement.

In 1998, they were awarded the Audubon Land Stewardship Award for wetlands they built on their little ranch on the East Branch of Red Lodge Creek. This property (the same land that brought them together) contained an abandoned meander system of the creek. Vince saw the habitat potential and built five wetland ponds that would attract birds, wildlife, and fish. The Department of Transportation joined in and helped Vince expand his wetlands for highway mitigation. This area is now protected by a 35-acre wetland preservation easement.

Impressed by The Nature Conservancy’s work in Montana, Vince and Mary identified our organization as their legacy partner. After a lifetime of engagement with various causes and charitable organizations, the two chose to support TNC with this gift because they want to see their funds used efficiently and aggressively for land conservation in Montana. “TNC has a terrific reputation,” Vince explains. “I know the pride you all take in the work you do.”

Vince and Mary provided the foundational gift for our Montana Land Protection Fund, which has been renamed the Vinary Fund–a portmanteau of their first names–in recognition of their generosity.

Contact us about the Vinary Fund

The Vinary Fund is restricted for The Nature Conservancy’s land protection work in the state of Montana. For more information, please contact Aaron Brock, Montana Development Director, at or by phoning 406-443-0303.