When it comes to the environment, the Tabasco company gets fired up, then takes action. In the 1890s pepper sauce creator Edmund McIlhenny established an egret rookery that’s still protected—and functioning—today. In the 1920s the McIlhenny family teamed up with Audubon to establish Louisiana’s 26,000-acre Rainey Sanctuary. So the untimely death of Paul McIlhenny, Tabasco’s sixth-generation family leader, at age 68 in February, cost birds and Audubon a longtime ally. “He was bigger than life and always ready with a joke,” says Douglas J. Meffert, Audubon Louisiana executive director. “He was a neighbor and friend to Audubon for decades.” One of his singular and enduring achievements began in 2009 when he and his family formed the Rainey Conservation Alliance with Audubon to safeguard 170,000 acres of contiguous marsh, forest, and beach.