TEXAS (June 22, 2023) — Audubon Texas is excited to announce the 2023 honorees of the Terry Hershey Award, as part of the Texas Women in Conservation Program. The honorees include Helen Drummond of the Houston Audubon Society and Virginia Rose of Birdability, as well as posthumous awards for Cecil Seixas and Estelle Hertford, both of Galveston. Audubon’s Texas Women in Conservation Program debuted in 2015 to honor the role women play in the conservation field and to provide opportunities for high school students to become inspired and involved in environmental science. This year’s honorees are a unique representation of the past, present, and future legacy of Audubon Texas, Audubon chapters, and community partners — a fitting tribute as the organization celebrates its centennial year of coastal protection activities.
“It’s an honor to recognize these four women and the path they’ve helped chart over the last century for the women conservationists that will come after them,” said Lisa Gonzalez, Vice President and Executive Director of Audubon Texas. “The rich and often challenging work of conservation requires a fortitude and passion embodied by each of our honorees. We’re excited to have this opportunity to celebrate their contributions and the doors they’ve opened for future generations of women in conservation.”
Seixas and Hertford began laying the foundation of protecting birds and other wildlife in Texas more than a century ago by starting the first Audubon Society in Texas in 1899. Sadly, the lives of these two young women – just 15 and 23 years old – were tragically altered by Galveston’s Great Storm of 1900. In the short time that they actively advocated for birds, they hosted “salon style” gatherings in homes to educate their community on the perils facing birds due to feather harvesting for women’s fashion.
Audubon Texas recently hosted similar gatherings in Galveston, Houston, and Austin to recognize our modern-day champions, Helen Drummond and Virginia Rose. These women are most recently recognized as the leaders of the Houston Audubon Society and Birdability. “Helen and Virginia have a passion for expanding accessibility and bringing down barriers to enjoying the outdoors. Their work and their leadership are more important than ever in the movement to protect birds,” says Gonzalez.” As the centennial anniversary of our first conservation actions unfolds, Audubon looks forward to highlighting their work, achievements, and passions.”
The Texas Women in Conservation award supports conservation education, notably Audubon’s Conservation Leaders Program, which provides opportunities for high school students to become more involved in environmental science. Each year, students participate in hands-on nature-based programs at Audubon’s three nature centers in Texas, as well as conduct extensive field research in nearby natural resource areas. In the 2022-2023 school year, Conservation Leaders will take a deep dive into the coastal resources of Texas through hands-on, minds-on activities. Audubon Texas has worked with community partners to bring coastal conservation issues alive for students this year. The program will culminate in a community science camping trip, which can be enjoyed on the Audubon Texas Instagram page. Program costs and materials are 100% subsidized by Audubon's generous donors and grants.
About Audubon Texas
Audubon Texas is the state office of the National Audubon Society. The National Audubon Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon Texas's state programs, three nature centers in San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth, a South Texas sanctuary, and a network of 21 local chapters and numerous partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities for conservation action. Audubon's vision is a world in which people and wildlife thrive. For more information and to find your local chapter visit https://tx.audubon.org/. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Dallas Kelley, Audubon Texas