Press Room

Tribute To Phil Clapp (1953-2008) Conservation Advocate And Environmental Leader

Ansel Adams once said, "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." In that fight, the environment had no stronger champion than Phil Clapp. Audubon is profoundly saddened by the loss of this irreplaceable champion of conservation.

Phil's legacy will endure not because he wrote policy, but because he shaped our perspectives and defined our priorities. In that sense he follows the tradition of some of our greatest environmental leaders.

Phil was at his best not as the power broker in the smoke-filled room, though he often was in that role. Phil was at his best as the gentleman standing in the smoke-filled lobby outside, intent on holding them accountable. With a clever quip, or a witty rejoinder, Phil would often expose the folly of elected and appointed officials who failed to uphold their duties as stewards of our air, water, wildlife and our very planet.

While Phil was one of our movement's most talented spokespersons, he was so much more. His strategic advice shaped our triumphs and mitigated our losses, his leadership led to the founding of one of our most dynamic environmental advocacy groups, and his vision made him a mentor for a generation of environmental advocates who were privileged to know and work with him. Phil is no longer with us, but his powerful legacy will remain.