Audubon Honors 50 Influential "Women of the Gulf"

By Margo Ludmer, National Audubon Society

On May 23, Audubon’s Women in Conservation program recognized 50 women for their outstanding efforts in the wake of the last summer’s BP oil disaster.  Confronted with the worst spill in U.S. history, this distinguished group of women conservationists took immediate action to relieve and restore important ecosystems along the Gulf Coast.  The veritable army of women leaders worked tirelessly along the front lines, making invaluable contributions to the recovery process through volunteering, grassroots outreach, faith-based organizing, governmental aid, media communication and non-profit work.

The special recognition of the Women of the Gulf took place during Audubon’s 8th Annual Women in Conservation luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Among the celebrated Gulf Coast heroines was National Audubon Society’s Melanie Driscoll, Director of Bird Conservation for the Louisiana Coastal Initiative, who served as a crucial interface between the localized relief effort and the general public.  Also recognized was Dr. Angelina Freeman, a coastal scientist at Environmental Defense Fund, who worked on restoring natural system functioning of the Mississippi River Delta.  The National Wildlife Federation was represented by three exceptional Women of the Gulf activists: Amanda Moore, Emily Guidry Schatzel and Maura Wood.  You can see profiles of all 50 award recipients here.

The Women of the Gulf award recipients represent the multitude of women who worked and continue to work with great dedication to mitigate the impacts of this environmental tragedy.  Also honored at the Women in Conservation luncheon were the recipients of the 2011 Rachel Carson Award, actress and environmental activist, Sigourney Weaver, and artist, architect, and environmentalist, Maya Lin.  Audubon’s Women in Conservation program has been recognizing influential women leaders in the environmental movement since its inception in 2004.

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