The 17th annual Charles H. Callison Award winners were announced at the National Audubon Society Board of Directors Meeting recently. Audubon gives two Callison Awards annually to honor an outstanding National Audubon Society staff member and a Chapter volunteer nominated for the award by their peers. Winners are individuals who have made remarkable contributions to conservation through environmental policy achievements, creativity, coalition building, and education and outreach.
Les Corey, Chief Development Officer, is the recipient of the 2011 Professional Award. Les has been a visionary leader and conservation professional for more than 30 years, and has achieved far more than most of us dream of accomplishing in a lifetime. A committed team player and a humble leader who recognizes talent in others, Les looks for consensus to achieve common goals, and has a wonderfully positive outlook—even when faced with almost insurmountable challenges. With a work ethic that is unmatched, Les has had an enormous conservation impact. He has raised more than $100 million in public and private funds for conservation, completed more than 250 habitat conservation projects, and protected hundred of thousands of acres. He has also donated hundreds of hours of volunteer during his career—living the motto “Think Globally, Act Locally.” Les was Chief Field Operations Officer for National Audubon Society for more than 8 years. In that position, he has helped to build Audubon’s 24 state offices, open more than 6 Audubon Centers, and helped grow Audubon’s budget significantly. Late in 2008, Les stepped up to take on the role of Acting Chief Development Officer and then Chief Development Officer for Audubon, filling a critical void in leadership. During the past two years, he has restructured the development department and made gigantic gains in revamping the development system – demonstrating his commitment to ensuring Audubon’s success during trying economic times. Les embodies everything that the Callison Award represents.
Dr. Richard Baker, President of Pelican Island Audubon Society in Vero Beach, FL. is the 2011 Volunteer Award recipient. Richard is a tremendous volunteer at many levels. An active member of his chapter since 1991, he has served on the Chapter board for 20 years. Currently a full time volunteer, Dr. Baker initiated a fundraising campaign that has raised over $250K towards building a 3000 sq. ft nature center on University property. He has also been very active in his community, where he rewrote the landscaping ordinance in the county, mandating native plans and regulating water use. Co-creator of the “Quality of life Project”, he works to bring diverse groups throughout Indian River County together for community workshops on quality of life in the county. And with his wife, Juanita, Richard wrote, photographed and published a coffee table book about one of their favorite rivers to canoe: Reflections of Blue Cypress, sales of which netted $50K for the chapter. Dr. Baker is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, researching entomology and genetics; Director of the University of Maryland Entomology Research Lab in Pakistan for 13 years before moving to Florida where he continued his research on mosquito born diseases as Director of the University of Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Indian River County. As one of the directors on the PIAS board said, “I can't think of anyone more worthy of an award.”
Awardees received a certificate and a framed print from Mississippi photographer Bill Stripling.
The awards namesake, Charlie Callison, was the executive vice president of National Audubon Society from 1960 to 1977, who was a leading voice in the creation of Audubon’s field operations and who grew and supported the Chapter network.