National Audubon Society Celebrates 10th Anniversary Rachel Carson Awards

The National Audubon Society will celebrate their 10th Anniversary Women in Conservation Luncheon by presenting the 2013 Rachel Carson Award to two exceptional women at The Plaza Hotel in New York City on Wednesday, May 29. The prestigious award, launched in 2004, recognizes visionary women whose dedication, talent and energy have greatly advanced environmental and conservation causes locally, nationally and globally.

Many past honorees will attend this year’s milestone luncheon, to receive special recognition for their continued commitment to the environment, including NRDC President Frances Beinecke, newly appointed Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Reverend Sally Bingham, Majora Carter, Bernadette Castro, Jayni Chase, Lynn Chase, Norma Dana, Laurie David, , Fernanda Kellogg, L. Hunter Lovins, Maria Rodale, Margie Ruddick, Janette Sadik-Kahn, Peggy Shepard, Beth Stevens, Elizabeth Titus Putnam and Margaret Wittenberg. Other past honorees include Sigourney Weaver, Bette Midler, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Isabella Rossellini.

This year, Audubon will recognize the following women for their work:

- Marian S. Heiskell is a lifelong conservationist and leader in numerous public and philanthropic activities focused on preserving green spaces in New York City and across the nation. She was a citizen founder of the iconic Gateway National Recreation Area, one of the country's largest urban national parks. She is the Honorary Chairman of GrowNYC, former Chairman of The New 42nd Street, Inc., and a driving force behind the restoration of 42nd Street and Times Square. She is also Chairman of the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy; a member of the Board of Directors of Audubon New York; a member of the Board of Directors of the 42nd Street Development Corp.; and an Honorary Life Trustee of the Community Service Society of New York. Mrs. Heiskell is proud to have been the granddaughter, daughter, wife, sister, and aunt of the Publisher of The New York Times. She is a former member of The New York Times Company Board and also served as the first woman Board member of several other corporations, including Ford Motor Company, Merck & Co., Inc., and Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.

- Lady Bird Johnson, whose daughter, Lynda Johnson Robb, will accept the award in memoriam. After her husband, Lyndon Johnson, was elected President in 1964, Lady Bird made conservation her cause. She beautified parks, and thousands of miles of highway. "Though the word beautification makes the concept sound merely cosmetic, it involves much more: clean water, clean air, clean roadsides, safe waste disposal and preservation of valued old landmarks as well as great parks and wilderness areas," Mrs. Johnson said. The Highway Beautification Act of 1964 is her legacy, along with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, to demonstrate the value of native plants, threatened worldwide.

A new Rachel Carson Award, custom designed by Tiffany & Co. will be unveiled at this year’s luncheon. It is an 18 karat gold medal with a cameo likeness of Rachel Carson’s profile on the front of the medal and the Awardee's name on the back. Lady Bird Johnson’s medal will be publicly displayed at The Wildflower Center after the event. Tiffany & Co. has also created matching sterling silver medals for all returning past honorees.

Keynote is historian Douglas Brinkley, who will speak about the legacy of Rachel Carson and women like Marian Heiskell and Lady Bird Johnson who will leave ever-lasting impacts on our country. An excerpt from his new book Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Stewart Udall and the Environmental Movement, 1961 to 1964, appeared in Audubon magazine, the same publication that dared print an excerpt of Carson’s Silent Spring,the iconic, bestselling book published 50 years ago.

“Throughout the conservation movement, women have led efforts for a healthier environment," said Erin Crotty Executive Director of Audubon New York, and the first woman to lead Audubon’s state office and the first woman Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  “A healthier planet requires imagination, collaboration, and perseverance. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Audubon’s Women in Conservation, we are proud to honor two environmental pioneers -- Marian Heiskell and Lady Bird Johnson with the 2013 Rachel Carson Awards.”

Since its inception, Audubon’s Rachel Carson Award has raised more than $2 million to support Audubon New York’s campaign to protect the Long Island Sound as well as Audubon’s Women in Conservation Program. This year the 2013 Award ceremony will be emceed by Anne Thompson, environmental affairs correspondent for NBC News; and will include welcome remarks by Audubon President & CEO David Yarnold.

The luncheon at The Plaza Hotel will be the first full vegetarian menu for this event. Great Performances, whose owner Liz Neumark serves on the Audubon Women in Conservation Council, will cater using organic, locally grown vegetables, herbs and fruits. Reception is at 11:30 a.m. followed by lunch at noon. Tickets range from $200 to $2,500 for an individual ticket and $5,000 to $50,000 for a table of 10. For more information, please call 212-979-3039 or email


“To recognize outstanding women leaders in today's conservation movement; to support environmental opportunities for girls and young women; and to educate women on important issues related to conservation and the environment.”

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