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.
Great Blue Heron Photo: Kenneth Lassman / Audubon Photography Awards
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.
In 1899 Cecil Seixas and Estelle Hertford – just 15 and 23 years old – began protecting birds and other wildlife in Texas more than a century ago, founding the first Audubon Society in Texas. The women actively advocated for the protection of birds and their habitat, hosting salon-style gatherings in homes to educate their community on the perils facing birds due to feather harvesting for women’s fashion.
On the anniversary of the 1900 Great Galveston Hurricane, Audubon Texas celebrates the memory of women conservation leaders such as Cecil Seixas and Estelle Howard, two of this year’s Terry Hershey Award nominees. The storm made landfall on September 8, 1900, leaving massive destruction and claiming thousands of lives. The hurricane remains the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Both Cecil and Estelle perished in the storm.
“Although their lives were cut short by the 1900 Galveston hurricane, we’re honored to uplift the deep impact both of these women made in service of conservation in our state,” said Audubon Texas Executive Director and Vice President, Lisa Gonzales. “With hurricane season underway, we’re reminded of the serious impacts and growing intensity of these natural disasters driven by climate change — underscoring the need to remain steadfast in our work. The efforts of women like Cecil and Estelle have provided a firm foundation that continues to inspire us each and every day.”
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.
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