Gina McCarthy: NWF Conservationist of the Year
The National Wildlife Federation to Honor Administrator McCarthy and Four Others with National Conservation Achievement Awards
By Miles Grant
As part of its 80th anniversary celebrations, the National Wildlife Federation will recognize five notable individuals for their outstanding contributions to wildlife conservation at the Conservation Achievement Awards.
“These individuals have all made remarkable efforts towards our shared goal of protecting America’s natural heritage,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “It is dedicated people like these who will help us maintain healthy wildlife populations in the future. We are particularly honored to recognize Gina McCarthy as the ‘Conservationist of the Year’ for her tireless efforts over the past three decades to protect America’s air, water and wildlife.”
A luncheon event was held April 14th in the same historic room the organization was founded, the Grand Ballroom at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. The following three individuals were honored:
Gina McCarthy – Conservationist of the Year: Gina McCarthy has served as the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since July 2013 and she has been a leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment. During her tenure, McCarthy has taken the President’s call to act on the climate and made it one of her top priorities for the EPA, most notably through the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule. She also spearheads the agency’s commitment to addressing environmental justice concerns and to making a visible difference in communities. Over her 30-year career, she has worked at both the state and local levels on policies regarding economic growth, energy, transportation and the environment. For example, McCarthy oversaw the development of the first mercury and air toxics standards which delivered huge protections to wildlife like the bald eagle, as well as public health benefits for many Americans.
Lowell E. Baier – Jay N. “Ding” Darling Conservation Award: Lowell Baier is an attorney, entrepreneur, conservationist, historian, and author. Baier’s passion for the outdoors began on his family’s Indiana farm and Montana ranch. After co-founding Wild Sheep Foundation and being active in the Boone and Crocket Club, Baier led President George H.W. Bush’s wildlife conservation agenda, and he has advised all three successive administrations on wildlife issues. Baier has led the creation of natural resources and wildlife conservation Ph.D. programs at five universities. He led a national campaign to raise $6 million to purchase the last remaining piece of privately held land that was Theodore Roosevelt’s historic Elkhorn Ranch, adjacent to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Baier recently authored Inside the Equal Access to Justice Act: Environmental Litigation and the Crippling Battle over America’s Lands, Endangered Species, and Their Critical Habitat and he is at work on Voices from the Wilderness: A Biography, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Baier presently serves on the President’s Leadership Council of the National Wildlife Federation and works with a number of other conservation groups.
Martha Darling – National Conservation Achievement Award: Over the past two decades, Martha Darling has picked up where her relative and National Wildlife Federation founder Ding Darling left off: Building power and clout for the National Wildlife Federation. Now part of the President’s Leadership Council – comprised of the NWF’s most generous donors and ardent supporters – Martha also helped resurrect the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund; bringing her political passions to the national advocacy scene. Through her leadership, the NWF Action Fund has provided vital support to wildlife champions on Capitol Hill, worked with NWF’s state affiliates on ballot measures, and continues to grow its grassroots efforts.
At a reception that night at the Stewart R. Mott House, the National Wildlife Federation honored two congressional partners with National Conservation Achievement Awards for their work with NWF over the past year. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) was recognized for his leadership advancing reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act and for protecting, defending and securing funding for public lands. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) was recognized for his leadership championing legislation to protect the Boulder-White Clouds, which resulted in the federal protection of more than 275,000 acres of prime hunting, fishing and wildlife habitat in Idaho.
The organization will announce additional Conservation Achievement Award winners at the National Wildlife Federation’s 80th Annual Meeting in June in Estes Park, CO.