Conservation Award to Lady Bird

by | May 11, 2013 | Pressroom

The National Audubon Society will celebrate its 10th Anniversary Women in Conservation Luncheon by presenting the 2013 Rachel Carson Award to two exceptional women at The Plaza Hotel in New York City on Tuesday, May 22. The prestigious award, launched in 2004, recognizes visionary women whose dedication, talent and energy have advanced environmental and conservation positive change locally and on a global scale.

Many past honorees will be in attendance at this year’s milestone luncheon and will be recognized for their continued conservation work. Those returning include Frances Beinecke, Sally Bingham, Majora Carter, Bernadette Castro, Jayni Chase, Lynn Chase, Norma Dana, Laurie David, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Sally Jewell, Fernanda Kellogg, L. Hunter Lovins, Maria Rodale, Margie Ruddick, Janette Sadik-Kahn, Peggy Shepard, Beth Stevens, Elizabeth Titus Putnam and Margaret Wittenberg. Other past honorees include Sigourney Weaver, Bette Midler, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Isabella Rossellini.

This year, Audubon will recognize the following women for their work:

  • Marian S. Heiskell: Marian S. Heiskell, among many accomplishments, is a former newspaper executive, lifelong conservationist, and a leader in numerous public and philanthropic activities focused on making the neighborhoods of New York City green, vital and more humane. She was the first woman Board member for the The New York Times Company, Consolidated Edison, Merck and Ford Motor Company. She was a citizen founder of Gateway National Recreation Area, chairman of the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy; honorary chairman of GrowNYC; chairman of The New 42nd Street, Inc.; an Audubon New York Board member; and a member of the Board of Managers and the Executive Committee of The New York Botanical Garden.
  • Lady Bird Johnson: As a child, Lady Bird Johnson paddled under the great cypress trees of Caddo Lake in northeast Texas, learning to love the land.  She devoted much of her life to preserving it.  After her husband, Lyndon Johnson, was elected President in 1964, she made conservation her cause.  She beautified parks, small and large, and thousands of miles of highway. “Though the word beautification makes the concept sound merely cosmetic, it involves much more: clean water, clean air, clean roadsides, safe waste disposal and preservation of valued old landmarks as well as great parks and wilderness areas,” Mrs. Johnson said.   The Highway Beautification Act of 1964 is her legacy, but the Johnson administration’s legacy includes nearly 200 environmental laws.  At the age of 70, she created the National Wildflower Research Center, now the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, in Austin, Texas, to demonstrate the value and beauty of native plants which are threatened worldwide.

A new Rachel Carson Award, custom designed by Tiffany & Co. will be unveiled at this year’s luncheon. It is an 18 karat gold medal with a cameo likeness of Rachel Carson’s profile on the front of the medal and the Awardee’s name on the back. Lady Bird Johnson’s medal, which will be accepted by her daughter Lynda Johnson Robb at the luncheon, will be publicly displayed at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center after the event. Tiffany & Co. has also created matching sterling silver medals for all returning past honorees for this year’s luncheon to be presented to them in the “Special Recognition” section of the program.

Guest speaker Douglas Brinkley, the official historian of CBS News, will speak about the important legacy of Rachel Carson and women like Marian Heiskell and Lady Bird Johnson who will also leave ever-lasting impacts on our country. The event will correspond with the new release of his book Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Stewart Udall and the Environmental Movement, 1961 to 1964.

Since its inception, Audubon’s Rachel Carson Award has raised more than $1,500,000 to support Audubon’s campaign to protect the Long Island Sound as well as Audubon’s Women in Conservation Program.  This year the 2013 Award ceremony will be emceed by Anne Thompson, environmental affairs correspondent for NBC News; and will also include a short speech from Audubon’s President & CEO David Yarnold.

The luncheon will take place in the ballroom of The Plaza Hotel, and will be the first full vegan Women in Conservation Luncheon, catered by Great Performances, whose owner Liz Neumark serves on the Audubon Women in Conservation Council, using organic, locally grown vegetables, herbs and fruits. Reception is at 11:30 a.m. followed by lunch at noon.