Director to Receive Audubon Award

by | Dec 4, 2014 | Pressroom

Susan Rieff

Former Wildflower Center Executive Director, Susan Rieff

Susan Rieff, executive director of The University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, is being recognized with a Terry Hershey Award from the Audubon Society.

Rieff will receive the award in February from Audubon’s Texas chapter for her distinguished career and advocacy of conservation best practices that are helping to transform how we think about native and sustainable landscaping in Texas and nationally. She will be one of four inaugural recipients of this award in honor of Hershey, a Houston philanthropist and long-time Texas conservationist.

The recognition will occur Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, during Audubon’s debut of its Texas Women In Conservation Program. The awards luncheon will be held at Houston’s River Oaks Country Club.

Rieff became executive director of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in 2004 as part of a conservation career that has spanned more than 30 years.  In her previous position, she was Policy Director for Land Stewardship at the National Wildlife Federation, the nation’s largest member-supported conservation group. And from 1995 to 1998, Rieff was the Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C.

She also served as Director of Environmental Policy for Texas Governor Ann Richards, as Assistant Commissioner under Texas Agricultural Commissioner Jim Hightower, and as the first Director of the Resource Protection Division at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

In her tenure at the Wildflower Center, Rieff has led national initiatives to shift conventional land development toward sustainable approaches that reduce water demand and conserve native plant diversity and wildlife habitat. The center is recognized for its beautiful, all native botanic garden, its innovative research, and a unique Family Garden that connects children with nature while demonstrating sustainable design.

She has tirelessly advanced the reach of the Wildflower Center, and was instrumental in the center’s becoming an organized research unit at The University of Texas at Austin in 2006. In addition to the Hershey Award, she has received the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

Note: Learn more about this year’s conservation award recipients here. High-resolution images of Susan Rieff are available from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.