Women on Wednesdays
Women in Conservation

Women on Wednesdays

March is Women’s History Month, and normally Audubon Texas joins the celebration with the Texas Women in Conservation Luncheon featuring the Terry Hershey Awards, an event that celebrates trailblazers and helps fund the next generation of women in conservation. Due to current circumstances, our next official event will take place in Spring 2022…but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate 2021 in different ways! 

This spring, “Women on Wednesdays” will take a look back at the Texas Women in Conservation Program, its Terry Hershey awardees (as well as Terry Hershey herself!), the Audubon Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women and some of its participants, and the generous sponsors who make this important work possible. 

You can partner with us in this important work with your gift in support of Texas Women in Conservation ... just click "Donate" at right!

Join us here each Wednesday, or find us on social media: Facebook (@audubontexas), Instagram (@audubontexas), and Twitter (@AudubonTX).

Wednesday, May 5: Wrapping the Program Year with High Marks

As this all-virtual 2020-21 program year comes to an end, we were curious to hear about the students' experience. The restrictions of COVID-19 required a major shift in program participation and delivery. Program leadership rose to the occasion, and the reviews coming in from students show that they have found incredible value and impact despite the changes. A sampling of the end-of-year survey feedback:

Students are taking the lessons they are learning out into their other activities and conversations.

  • “I had another club talk about [a session topic] and I was able to answer a lot of their questions thanks to what I learned in ACL.”

  • “Many of the conversations we had regarding how to talk about climate change with others were very useful and I felt that they enlightened me on having more effective conversations with others.”

When asked about an “A-HA” moment over the year...

  • ”I think the whole experience was something I would call an A-HA moment.” 

Participants valued learning from guest speakers in addition to program director Yvette Stewart.

  • “The panels were incredibly informative and range widely in topics so I always feel I am learning something new.”

  • “I now realize that all careers can be impactful in our community. I thought that only certain jobs/careers had to just focus on either harming or helping.”

Most importantly, students personalized the lessons throughout the year.

  • “I really like the focus of nature and its connection to our personal wellbeing, such as how being outside may allow us to better our mental and physical health.”

  •  “Talking about our ‘footprints’ and how what we do and what we eat affects the environment was enlightening. I had never been able to put everything into perspective before and made me realize how impactful my choices are on the environment.”

Wednesday, April 28: ACL Students' Impact Spans the Network

Our outstanding ACL students aren't just making waves across Texas...they are making an impact on conservationists across the network! To commemorate the end of the 2020-21 program year, some of ACL's fans put together a special message for this year's program participants. Take a look! 

Wednesday, April 21: Our Sister Program, National Audubon Society's Women in Conservation Featuring the Rachel Carson Award

Did you know...we celebrate Texas women specifically with the Terry Hershey Award, but there's another Women in Conservation program at the national level! National Audubon Society's Women in Conservation event features the Rachel Carson Award. Traditionally held in May at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, this year's event is going virtual. That means conservationists across the country can celebrate these award winners: Lisa P. Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, Apple; Rachel’s Network, Award acceptance by President Fern Shepard; and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, Cofounder and President, Tompkins Conservation. To learn about these honorees and to purchase your ticket for this year's virtual event on May 18, click here

Wednesday, April 14: ACL Students in Their Own Words

Who better to talk about what the ACL program has taught its students than the students themselves? Several of our 2020-21 program participants provided their perspective to our Virtual Texas Women in Conservation event last fall. Hear for yourself below!

Wednesday, April 7: Audubon Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women

The Terry Hershey Awards help celebrate the path women have forged in conservation in Texas. The Audubon Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women (ACL) launches the next generation of women conservationists down that path. Despite COVID-19 restrictions transitioning this yearlong in-person program to the virtual space, the ACL program has continued to thrive, experiencing its best growth since its inception. Click here to read an overview of this program, and check back on Wednesdays in April to get to know some of this year's students and the opportunities ahead this summer and beyond.

Wednesday, March 31: Behind the Scenes of the Terry Hershey Awards with Lydia Saldaña

A signature element of the Terry Hershey Awards is the honoree video. Colleagues, friends, and family join award winners to tell the story of their amazing accomplishments...in 4 minutes or less! These videos are much-loved tributes to these outstanding female conservationists. And the vision behind every video is Lydia Saldaña.

Lydia is a writer, video producer, public relations practitioner, podcaster, and media communications trainer who has been communicating about natural resource conservation issues for more than 30 years. She has worked with Audubon Texas to produce video profiles of Terry Hershey Award winners for Audubon’s Texas Women in Conservation program since the award’s inception in 2015. Lydia also serves as part-time Communications Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF), a position she has held since 2014. Her body of work represents the Borderlands Research Institute, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, Texas Wildlife Association and the Texas Coastal Coalition. Prior to 2014, Lydia was Communications Division Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for many years. Before her TPWD career, she was a broadcast journalist in Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin.

Lydia's team travels across the state to capture the heart of each year's Terry Hershey winners. Her visual storytelling and beautiful production is as much an award as the commemorative pendants each winner receives. You've seen the final videos throughout the month; now enjoy this peek "behind the scenes" with Lydia!

Wednesday, March 24: Terry Hershey Winners, 2018-2020

Texas Women in Conservation continued to grow statewide and returned to Houston in 2018, where honorees included Claire Caudill, Linda Shead, and Maxine Johnston. Click here for more

Austin was the site of the 2019 luncheon, with Terry Hersey Award winners Hon. Valarie Bristol, Carolyn Chipman Evans, Susan Kaderka, and Dianne Wassenich. Click here for more

Finally, the 2020 awards were scheduled for March 25 in Dallas. Just two weeks before the event, the onset of COVID-19 forced a delay, but we weren't going to miss honoring Anne Brown, Janette Monear, Julie Shackelford, and Gail Thomas! The Virtual Texas Women in Conservation took place in October. Click here for more

Wednesday, March 17: Terry Hershey Winners, 2015-2017

This week and next, we highlight winners from the past six years. Today, we invite you to learn more about our honorees from 2015 to 2017. At the links below, you can read bios of these outstanding women and view the inspiring videos highlighting their contributions and presented at the luncheon as they received their awards.

The Texas Women in Conservation luncheon, featuring the inaugural Terry Hershey Awards, debuted in Houston in February 2015. Honorees included Carol Dinkins, Mary Anne Piacentini, Susan Rieff, and Ellen Temple. Click here for more

In 2016, the luncheon was held in Fort Worth and featured Janice Bezanson, Deborah Clark, Ann Hamilton, Marty Leonard. Click here for more

San Antonio was the site for the 2017 event, with Terry Hershey awards presented to Blair Fitzsimons, Karen Hixon, Susan Hughes, Ruth Lofgren. Click here for more


Wednesday, March 10: Terry Hershey, the Woman Behind the Award

Learn all about Terry Hershey and hear from conservation leaders around the state in the Terry Hershey tribute video. Click here for more


Check back each week for more "Women on Wednesdays"!