Four extraordinary women were honored with a 2010 Rachel Carson Award by the National Audubon Society at its seventh annual Women in Conservation luncheon Tuesday at The Plaza in New York City. The Women in Conservation program seeks to inspire more women to enter the field of conservation, and to celebrate the history of women in the movement, dating back at least to the early 1900s when a group of women started the Audubon Society in response to the practice of killing birds so their feathers could be used in fashionable hats.
Allison Rockefeller, whose family has a long legacy in parks conservation, is the founding chairwoman of the Rachel Carson Awards committee. She noted that the Audubon Women in Conservation launched its first field program this year, a tour of the Everglades, and that it is now active on Facebook and Twitter. But of course, the event was about the honorees. "They are a reserve of strength that sustains us all," Rockefeller said.
The 2010 awardees:
Suzanne Lewis, Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park
A National Parks Service employee since 1978, Lewis was the superintendent of Glacier National Park and Gulf Islands National Seashore, among other preserves, before taking over as the first woman superintendent of Yellowstone National Park in 2002. She manages more than 2.2 million acres, a staff of 400 and has an annual base budget of more than $36 million, the largest operating budget of any national park in the National Park Service. She has received several awards for her management of parks, and in 2007 was a National Women's History Month Honoree. She had this piece of advice for women (or anyone) entering the field (or any, really): "I always had a hand extended to me, and I always reached out and took that hand."
Isabella Rossellini, actress, director, writer & environmental activist
A celebrated artist, model and author from a celebrated family, Isabella Rossellini has focused her efforts on quirky and delightful environmental themes lately, most notably with the Green Porno series on The Sundance Channel. This year, she follows the successful theme with Seduce Me. In distinctive style, she talked about how the award was a culmination, of sorts, for a lifelong love of nature, which she can indulge in now, she said, "because I got old" too old to model and act, she laughed. "I have time, to do what I wanted to do," she said. She added: "My love for animals started when I was a little girl. I love them for the same reason I love my brown hair I don't know why. I do, and they make me laugh."
Beth Stevens, Senior Vice President Environmental Affairs, Disney World Wide Services
She has a Ph.D. in behavioral physiology, and has used it well at Disney, helping to open its Animal Kingdom Theme Park and to develop other wildlife programs. She now leads the environmental efforts for the company and is responsible for developing and facilitating the company's strategy, policy and goals. "I really believe that the way of leadership ... is to build a culture of environmental stewardship," she said in accepting her award.
Fernanda M. Kellogg, President, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation
Fernanda Kellogg has been president of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation since 2004. She oversees the Foundation's mission to provide grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to the education and preservation of the arts and environmental conservation. The Foundation made headlines this spring by donating $1 million toward the preservation of land near the famous "Hollywood" sign in Southern California. Kellogg, whose father was an ambassador and a founder of the World Wildlife Fund and whose mother founded an organization that became the African Wildlife Foundation, accepted the award on behalf of the board and staff of the Foundation. She said, "Mother Nature is Tiffany's best designer. We truly respect Mother."
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