Audubon established this distinguished award in 2004 to honor visionary women whose dedication, talent and energy have advanced conservation and environmental education locally and on a global scale. Previous honorees include Bette Midler, founder of the New York Restoration Project; Teresa Heinz Kerry, chair of the Heinz Endowments and the Heinz Family Philanthropies; Majora Carter, Founder and Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx and Laurie David, producer of "An Inconvenient Truth."
This year, Audubon will recognize the following women for their work:
* Dr. Sylvia Earle: Dr. Earle is an oceanographer, author, lecturer and National Geographic Explorer in Residence whose work has expanded awareness and conservation of the fragile marine environment. Former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Earle is president and founder of Deep Search International. She has led more than 60 expeditions, including the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970. She also set a record for solo diving to a depth of 3,300 feet. Her research focuses on marine ecosystems in the deep sea and other remote environments. www.deepdeep.org
* Sally Jewell: Ms. Jewell is president and CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), a national outdoor gear and apparel retailer dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Additionally, Jewell sits on the boards of the National Parks Conservation Association, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Initiative for Global Development and the University of Washington. She also serves on The National Forum on Children and Nature Advisory Board and the National Parks Second Century Commission. www.rei.com/stewardship
* Elizabeth C. Titus Putnam: Ms. Putnam is the president and founder of the Student Conservation Association, the nation's largest youth conservation leadership organization. While studying at Vassar College in the mid-1950's, she envisioned a contemporary conservation core that would utilize her strength and the energy of students to respond to the threats facing America's national parks. Through her hard work, vision and determination, she established and nurtured the SCA. Thanks to her efforts, nearly 4,000 students contribute over two million hours of service each year to protecting and restoring America's parks, forests, refuges, seashores and communities. www.thesca.org
* Elizabeth Colleton, Jane Evans and Susan Haspel - NBC Universal's "Green is Universal" Initiative: Launched in May 2007, Green is Universal is NBC Universal's ongoing effort to promote environmental awareness and action, and to green the company's own operations. Spanning numerous business units, Green is Universal provides hundreds of hours of green-themed content and activities across all platforms throughout the year and especially during dedicated "Green Weeks." Company executives Beth Colleton, Jane Evans and Susan Haspel lead a wide array of related green efforts, including a pilot program to implement the reduction of carbon emissions and providing over $300,000 in green grants to underserved public education programs. www.nbc.com/Green
The award is named for Rachel Carson, whose landmark book Silent Spring opened the world's eyes to the damage inflicted by the indiscriminate use of pesticides such as DDT.
Anne Thompson, NBC News' Chief Environmental Affairs correspondent, will emcee the luncheon. Thompson reports on issues such as alternative fuels, global warming, land usage and new technologies for all NBC News broadcasts. Thompson has received the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award and was part of the "Nightly News" team that won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award and the Emmy Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
Allison Rockefeller is the Founding Chair of the Rachel Carson Awards Council.
Carol M. Browner will be a special guest at the luncheon. Former chair of the National Audubon Society, Browner served in President Clinton's administration as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.) With former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Browner co-founded The Albright Group, a global strategy advisory firm and Albright Capital Management, an investment advisory firm. Browner is currently the head of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change. She also served as a member of the League of Conservation Voters, Center for American Progress and Alliance for Climate Protection.
The luncheon takes place at The Plaza, 2 Central Park South in New York City. Reception is at 11:30 a.m. followed by lunch at noon. Ticket prices range from $200-$2,500 for an individual ticket and $5,000-$50,000 for a table of 10. For more information, please call 212-874-5457.
More about Audubon's Women in Conservation and previous winners at web4.audubon.org/wic.