Past Honorees

Previous recipients of our Audubon Connecticut’s Environmental Awards include an amazing array of highly prestigious environmental leaders.

2014 - John W. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D. 

John W. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D. received Audubon Connecticut's Katie O’Brien Lifetime Achievement Award.  Dr. Fitzpatrick is the Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University.

John’s career touches upon all the facets of bird conservation and education. He has served on national governing boards of The Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society. John is an expert of the Neotropical avifauna and has authored over 150 scientific papers. He has also discovered and described seven bird species new to science.

He is co-inventor of eBird, one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing citizen-science projects and an inspiration to thousands of new ornithologists starting their career at the Lab. As testament to this, several alumni of the lab who recently discovered a new bird species in Peru named the bird in John’s honor. The team chose the scientific name Capito fitzpatricki for the new species.


2014 - George E. Pataki 

George E. Pataki received Audubon Connecticut's Environmental Leadership Award. He served three terms as the 53rd Governor of New York from 1995-2006 and in the New York State Senate from 1993-1994.

Governor George Pataki has been an avid birder and ardent conservationist for decades. During his tenure, he was a leader in establishing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), was instrumental in helping New York City reduce pollution levels in the waterways, and was also the conveyor of the landmark New York City Watershed agreement.

His creation of the New York State Bird Conservation Area Program (BCA) that was modeled on Audubon's Important Bird Areas program was also visionary. Under the Pataki administration’s leadership, New York was the first state in the nation to enact such a program and designated 48 BCAs in the state that covered more than 50,000 acres. His administration also permanently protected over 1 million acres of important habitat in the state of New York.


2014 - Ken Salazar 

Ken Salazar received Audubon Connecticut's Environmental Leadership Award. He served as the 50th U.S. Secretary of the Interior from 2009-2013 and as a U. S. Senator from Colorado from 2005-2009.

As Secretary, he led the nation's conservation efforts, including the creation of 10 new National Parks and 10 new National Wildlife Refuges, and organized more than 100 other conservation and preservation projects across the nation. He also established the National Blueways System and made his department’s first designation the Connecticut River and its watershed.

Under Secretary Salazar’s guidance, the Department of the Interior and the Fish & Wildlife Service launched the Conserving the Future vision, calling for the creation of the Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative. In 2013, Audubon Connecticut became the lead partner in what is now known as the Urban Oases program in the New Haven Harbor Watershed project which will create a network of wildlife–friendly habitat in municipal parks, schoolyards, vacant lots, and units of Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.


2013 – Eaddo Kiernan

Eaddo Kiernan received Audubon Connecticut's Lifetime Achievement Award. Both her mother and father, Eaddy and Lawson Hayes, were avid outdoor enthusiasts and instilled in her a love a nature and the passion to protect it.

Eaddo was central to the Audubon Greenwich Nature of Discovery Campaign that funded the construction of the Kimberlin Nature Education Center at Audubon Greenwich. She brought together the talents of community leaders to produce one of the most welcoming and original Audubon Centers. Equipped with this new building and increased staff, Audubon Greenwich has become a leading regional resource for environmental education. Eaddo's tireless efforts enabled Audubon to expand its outreach and motivated community to engage in the conservation and appreciation of nature.

Eaddo's greatest gift has been to ensure that all the conservation organizations she participates in have strong educational programs to amplify their environmental mission. She has done this as a Board member at Audubon Greenwich, the New England Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and through helping to establish Stepping Stones, the children's science museum in Norwalk, Connecticut.


2013 – Joni Steele Kimberlin & Kevin Kimberlin

Joni and Kevin Kimberlin received the Audubon Connecticut 2013 Environmental Leadership Award for their far-sighted support of Audubon's education mission. They are firm believers in nature education and inspiring conservation action.

Joni has long been a protector of our natural world. As a SCUBA divemaster, she was attuned to the state of our oceans, especially coastal marshlands and tidal areas. Her concern led to action. In the late 1980's, she worked with Audubon to develop the Healthy Lawn Challenge to reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers that ultimately pollute Long Island Sound. 

In 2003, Join and Kevin took their shared vision and love of conservation and dove head first into their work to establish the Kimberlin Nature Education Center as a national model. It currently hosts more than 6,000 students each year and has become a kindling force for intelligent conservation action since its establishment. Both Joni and Kevin are leaders fostering education and a healthy environment through their philanthropic and volunteer activities. 


2012 – Jayni Chase

Jayni Chase received the Audubon Connecticut 2012 Environmental Leadership Award for her many years of work to advance environmental education.

In 1988, Jayni founded the Center for Environmental Education to provide K-12 teachers and students with the resources and materials necessary to build environmental education programs and lessons in their schools. Her outstanding work has led to wonderfully successful efforts to engage thousands of children and families in environmental education programming. She is also spearheading two green school initiatives: GREEN Community Schools and the Energy-Efficient Schools Initiative.

Jayni crdits her husband, Chevy, and daughters, Cydney, Caley, and Emily, with providing the force behind her dedication to environmental health, safety, and education.


2012 – Kathryn D. Wriston

Kathryn D. Wriston received the Audubon Connecticut Lifetime Achievement Award for her suport and advocay of the preservation of large forest tracts.

Foremost of the Mrs. Wriston's interests has been the care and upkeep of her beloved Deer Pond Farm, a 600-acre forest preserve in Sherman, CT. The forests, fields, and ponds of Deer Pond Farm have long served as a place of respite for her and her late husband, Walter B. Wriston. Here they practiced conservation forestry for the benefit of birds and other wildlife that depend on that pristine habitat.

Mrs. Wriston worked in her early years of her professional life as a practicing attorney with the New York law firm of Sherman & Sterling. Since then, she has concentrated more of her time serving on the boards of corporate and non-profit organizations.


2011 – Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky, M.D.

Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky, M.D., recipient of the Environmental Leadership Award, has worked tirelessly for the environment, bird conservation, and human health.

Dr. Waletzky served on the Board of National Audubon where she initiated, funded, and developed the Audubon At Home program for the Society. Later, she played a similar role at Audubon New York in the creation and ongoing support of their Audubon At Home program, and has been pivotal in initiating Audubon Connecticut’s efforts. She is also a major contributor to Audubon Missouri and the Audubon Seabird program.

Dr. Waletzky serves as Chair of the New York State Council of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and Chair of the Taconic Region Parks Commission, among other positions. Current Board memberships include Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Grassroots Environmental Education. She recently served on Governor Cuomo’s transition committee for Energy and Environment.

After she joined the successful efforts to stop pesticide spraying for the West Nile Virus in Westchester, Dr. Waletzky was appointed to the Westchester Pest Management Committee, which oversees the ban on the use of pesticides on all county properties. In the process, she created an annual No Pesticides Day.

She has also added over 100 acres to the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. Dr. Waletzky received the Governor’s Parks and Preservation Award in 2004 and The Friends of Westchester County Parks “Best Friend” Award in 2006. In 2009, she was one of the founders of the Alliance for New York State Parks, an organization devoted to developing public and private support for the 213 State Parks and Historic Sites.

A graduate of Wellesley College and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Waletzky co-founded the Medical Illness Counseling Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland where she practiced for 20 years. It was her background as a physician that led to her concern about the effects of pesticides and other toxins on the health of people, wildlife, and birds.


2009 – Christopher Shays

During his 21 years in Congress, U.S. Representative Christopher Shays, recipient of the Environmental Leadership Award, was always a consistent voice for the environment. While in Congress, he played a pivotal role in introducing and gaining passage of the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act that authorizes up to $25 million each year to protect and preserve areas along the Sound's shoreline with significant ecological, recreational or educational value. In Greenwich, he was instrumental in securing the purchase and transfer of Calves Island, a 28.8 acre island located directly south of Byram Harbor, to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for inclusion in the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.

Congressman Shays did not limit his environmental endeavors to Connecticut. He fought for the health of all U.S. residents by introducing the Clean Water Protection Act, sponsoring the Energy for Our Future Act, cosponsoring The Fresh Air Quality Act, the Clean Smokestacks Act, and the Climate Stewardship Act. Mr. Shays was also a champion for some of our nation's most fragile and significant natural areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Yellowstone National Park, and the Northern Rockies Ecosystem.

Christopher Shays' record demonstrates an enduring commitment to protect and preserve not only Connecticut's natural resources but also those of our nation.


2008 – David Ogilvy

A life long resident of Greenwich and recipient of the Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award, David has devoted his life to many areas of public service. Throughout his life, he has played a critical role in supporting those issues and organizations that affect all Greenwich residents. He is, or has been, actively involved with the Greenwich Land Trust, Greenwich Tree Conservancy, The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich, the Arch Street Teen Center, the Family Centers, and the Boys & Girls Club.

David’s key involvement was responsible for preserving two critically important open spaces in Greenwich, the Pomerance-Tuchman and Treetops properties. Due to David’s efforts to galvanize community support, the Pomerance-Tuchman property was permanently preserved so that it could be enjoyed by future generations. The Treetops acquisition preserved 110 acres of Mianus River Watershed lands while adding to the Mianus Greenway so that this unique and ecologically valuable habitat could be forever shared.

David is also a recognized leader in the Greenwich business community. He founded David Ogilvy & Associates, a local real estate firm. He holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia.


2008 – Robert F. Schumann

Robert Ford Schumann, a resident of Madison, CT and recipient of the Environmental Leadership Award, served for many years on the Board of the National Audubon Society. His love for nature, along with a willingness to protect it led to this award. His foundation supports many environmental organizations and causes.

As a family member, and later as Chairman, he served on The Shumann Foundation, created by his parents in 1962. It is now known as the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy. In honor of his length of service, the Foundation established a chair at Wesleyan University known as the Robert Schumann Environmental Studies Program.

Bob combined his knowledge of media with his love of nature by designing and setting up Audubon’s film and television programs. Over the years, Bob has lent support to our Long Island Sound program, national policy work, and the programs of Connecticut, New York, and Florida’s field operations. Currently, he serves on the Board of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and on the Advisory board of Audubon New York.

Bob received a B.A. degree from Connecticut’s Wesleyan University and holds an honorary Ph.D. in Humane Letters.


2006 - Dan W. Lufkin

Recipient of the Environmental Leadership Award, Dan Lufkin has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to conservation and devotion to environmental conservation in Connecticut and nationally. In 1970, he helped organize the first earth Day. In 1971, he became Connecticut’s first Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. Under his leadership, Connecticut became one of the first states to establish inland wetlands regulations and the first to create a private enterprise, Resource Recovery Authority.

For more than 40 years, Dan has been deeply involved in the protection and restoration of the world’s natural resources with a special focus on Connecticut’s environment and the Long Island Sound.

Dan is also renowned for his business accomplishments as a co-founder and Chairman of Donaldson, Lufkin, & Jenrette. He also co-founded Questor Partners Fund I and II. His record led the Wall Street Journal to name him among the most significant “100 Men in the World: People Who Influenced Our Daily Business.” Dan’s other interests range from government and philanthropy to cattle ranching and horsemanship.


2005 - Donal C. O’Brien, Jr.

Recipient of the Environmental Leadership Award, Donal C. O’Brien served on the National Audubon Society’s Board of Directors for more than 25 years, serving 15 of those as Chairman. Throughout his lifetime, he has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to conservation and the Audubon mission. Under his leadership, Audubon has become one of the leading advocates for the Long Island Sound and its critical bird habitats.

Donal’s commitment to the environment is unmatched. Donal has served on the Board of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, and is a member of The Waterfowl Research Foundation, American Bird Conservancy, and Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc. He is former Vice Chairman of the Board of The Nature Conservancy, former President of the International Council for Bird Preservation, Chairman Emeritus of the Quebec Labrador Foundation, and founding Chairman of the American Bird Conservancy.


2003 - Phoebe Milliken

Recipient of the Environmental Leadership Award, Phoebe Milliken has been for years a sound voice for land conservation and nature education. She has served on the Board of Directors of the National Audubon Society. She has helped to shape a generation of conservationists by teaching field biology to hundreds of young students during her tenure as a volunteer Teacher Naturalist at the Audubon Center in Greenwich.

Phoebe’s efforts have permanently preserved many critical habitats including Greenwich’s Byram River Gorge for The Nature Conversancy and critical open spaces for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. For her work in conservation, she was awarded the Garden Club of America’s Margaret Hutchison Award. She has also served on the boards of the Greenwich Land Trust and The Greenwich Board of Parks and Recreation.

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