Despite the gloomy economic times, the Audubon Society’s Women in Conservation luncheon at the Plaza was packed with women (and some men!) of all ages and positively sparkled. The sheen of Chanel suits and big jewels bounced off the gilt-edged mirrors, as many of the attendees were there to support the Society’s work with large checks, or at the very least, the $300 a plate lunch.
Allison Rockefeller, founding chairwoman of the event, opened the event, praising the honorees and pointed out how important it is to get young women involved in conservation sciences, the aim of the Women in Conservation Internship Program (which is where donations from the event were headed).
Dr. Sylvia Earle, also known as “Her Deepness” (for holding the deepest-dive record for her 1250-foot freedive), a National Geographic Explorer in Residence and “A Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, was the first of the award recipients. Dr. Earle has worked tirelessly throughout her career to preserve marine ecosystems and protect ocean animals and their homes. She quipped that she was “Swept off her flippers” by the award, which in only partly a joke as she has logged over 60,000 hours underwater.
Sally Jewell, the President and CEO of REI was recognized with the Rachel Carson Award for leading her company’s commitment to outdoor education, and ongoing dedication to environmental stewardship. Jewell talked about the importance of getting kids outside and fighting Nature Deficit Disorder, and said that unstructured time outdoors is key to fighting obesity and encouraging true environmentalism among citizens.
Elizabeth Titus Putnam, the Founding President of the Student Conservation Association was awarded for her work in founding the SCA, which has gotten thousands of young people out in the woods for year-long service internships working in state and national parks. President Obama is a big fan of the SCA, which is part of the Americorps program.
NBC Universal’s “Green is Universal” initiative, headed by Elizabeth Colleton, Jane Evans and Susan Haspel, has dedicated itself to lowering the environmental impact of both NBC’s TV production and it’s back end businesses. Green is Universal has given over $300,000 in green educational grants, and also brought environmentally-oriented content to its local and national programming.
After the ceremony, during which each recipient was presented with gorgeous Tiffany vases, current and previous recipients (including Majora Carter, Founder and Director of Sustainable South Bronx) mingled and shared congratulations.