FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 17, 2016
San Antonio Women Honored for Conservation Achievements
2017 Terry Hershey Award honorees announced by Audubon Texas
Audubon Texas is honoring four San Antonio women for their substantial contributions to Texas conservation efforts. Audubon’s Texas Women in Conservation Program has announced the honorees for the 2017 Terry Hershey Award, which recognizes outstanding women leaders in conservation. The 2017 honorees are Blair Fitzsimons, chief executive officer of Texas Agricultural Land Trust; conservationist and philanthropist Karen Hixon; Susan Hughes, Board Member Edwards Aquifer Authority Board of Directors; and environmentalist and community advocate Ruth Lofgren.
The Terry Hershey award is one component of Audubon’s Texas Women in Conservation program, which aims to highlight the conservation achievements of Texas women, to support girls and young women in the environmental sciences and to engage women in Texas conservation issues.
“It’s fitting that Audubon Texas recognize the efforts of women in conservation. After all, the first chapter of Audubon in Texas was founded in 1898 by two young women who were concerned about the slaughter of birds for fashion,” said Haily Summerford, interim executive director of Audubon Texas. “The 2017 Terry Hershey Award winners personify the very best in conservation leadership, and it is our hope that these awards will shine a light on their work, inspire other women, and encourage young girls to get involved in conservation.”
Blair Fitzsimons serves as chief executive officer of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of agricultural lands, wildlife habitats and natural resources in Texas. Founded in 2007, the organization today holds conservation easements on over 226,000 acres of working lands throughout Texas. Karen Hixon has served in key conservation leadership roles, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, and was a member of the board of directors for The Nature Conservancy of Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. She also serves on the board of directors for the Peregrine Fund and the Texas Agricultural Land Trust Foundation. Susan Hughes has worked tirelessly on land and water issues in the south central Texas region and was elected to the Edwards Aquifer Authority Board at its inception in 1996, now serving as vice chair. She co-founded Sustainable San Antonio, which successfully advocated for dedicating a portion of local sales-tax revenue for aquifer protection, conserving more than 140,000 acres so far. Lifelong educator Ruth Lofgren was the guiding force in the creation of the Mitchell Lake Wetlands Society to educate children in environmental science. Her dedication to that effort led to the founding of the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in 2004. In her 100th year, Lofgren continues to inspire those around her.
Audubon Texas and Bexar Audubon Society will co-host the Terry Hershey Texas Women in Conservation Awards luncheon on April 13, 2017 at Pearl Stable in San Antonio, Texas. The award is named for conservation icon Terry Hershey, who has devoted her time, energy and resources to significant conservation projects in Houston, throughout Texas and nationally for more than 50 years.
“Like Terry Hershey, the 2017 honorees have made their world a better place by dedicating themselves to the conservation of our land, water and wildlife,” said Janice Bezanson, co-chair of the nomination committee and previous Terry Hershey award honoree. “Celebrating the achievements of these remarkable women is a fitting tribute to Terry’s legacy.”
Besides the Terry Hershey Award, Audubon’s Texas Women in Conservation Program creates a framework to nurture tomorrow’s women conservationists and environmental leadership opportunities through three major service components. The Rachel Carson Field Internship provides on-the-ground field experiences, the Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women involves participants in an in-depth examination of conservation opportunities and challenges, and the Terry Hershey Scholarship and Grant Program offers educational funds to support higher education opportunities for young women.
Fundraising continues to support these efforts. All gifts in support of this award and all proceeds from the annual Terry Hershey Award luncheon will support the enhancement of citizen science, conservation, and educational activities in Texas that focus on engaging women and girls in stewardship and conservation of the natural world. For more information, contact Haily Summerford at 817-999-2883 or visit http://tx.audubon.org/texaswomeninconservation
Full bios of honorees can be found here: http://tx.audubon.org/conservation/2017-terry-hershey-award-honorees
The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive.