Thursday, October 30, 2014

Audubon New York Honors Conservationist Alexander Zagoreos

Zagoreos Presented with 2014 Thomas W. Keesee, Jr. Conservation Award
TROY>> Audubon New York is honoring Alexander Zagoreos with the 2014 Thomas W. Keesee, Jr. Conservation Award on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at the annual Audubon New York Fall Benefit at the Metropolitan Club in New York City.
Zagoreos is being presented the Thomas W. Keesee, Jr. Conservation Award for his leadership in environmental protection and natural resource conservation.  The Thomas W. Keesee, Jr. Award is Audubon’s highest award for a leader championing conservation in New York.  The annual award is named in honor of Thomas W. Keesee, Jr., a long-time advocate of Audubon’s grassroots legacy. 
“Alex Zagoreos’ passion for our natural world has had an everlasting impact on New York’s landscape and people,” said Erin Crotty, Executive Director of Audubon New York.  “Alex’s life-long commitment to the preservation of our natural resources is inspirational, and many organizations have benefitted from his involvement.  Audubon New York is honored, proud, and grateful for his leadership and dedication.”
“It’s a tremendous honor to receive the 2014 Keesee Award from Audubon New York,” says Alex Zagoreos, 2014 Thomas W. Keesee Jr. Conservation Award Honoree.  “I firmly believe that to achieve modern conservation success, partnering with private landowners is imperative if we are going to find strategic solutions for balancing the financial benefit of working lands with protecting the resources that birds and other wildlife depend on for raising their families.  Audubon New York is a leader at implementing this 21st Century approach and I truly appreciate their recognition of my commitment to conservation in New York.”
Alex Zagoreos has been an Audubon New York Board member since 2001 and recently retired as Chairman. Previously, Alex was Vice Chair, Chair of the Finance Committee, and Co-Chair of the Development Committee. Alex is a Senior Advisor of Lazard Asset Management, with 44 years of investment experience in international and emerging markets.  He is also on the board of the National Audubon Society, serving on the Conservation, Arts, Investment, and Finance committees. Committed to the preservation of New York’s natural resources, for nearly five decades Alex has been a leader within many New York based environmental conservation organizations, including Hudson Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, Scenic Hudson Land Trust, New York League for Conservation Voters, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, and a number of Hudson River groups involved in the protection of the River and its valley.
Alex has a strong interest in the intersection of agriculture and wildlife conservation and he and his wife Marine run a bird-friendly beef farm in Washington County, NY, a portion of which is dedicated to protecting grassland birds. Alex and Marine donated a conservation easement on the property as a way to ensure their children, grandchildren and all future generations be able to enjoy the property and all of its wildlife as much as they do today.  Species of conservation concern found on the property include Bobolink, American Kestrel, and Savannah Sparrow.  These species and others are benefiting from the bird-friendly haying practices at the farm.  Delaying the first cut of hay until nesting birds successfully fledge their chicks helps with population recovery and makes the Washington County countryside valuable habitat for migrating and overwintering birds.
The Thomas W. Keesee, Jr. Conservation Award is presented annually by Audubon New York to honor the individual or individuals who have shown remarkable leadership and commitment, particularly in New York State, to Audubon's mission to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.
In addition, support underwrites Audubon New York’s work within the Atlantic Flyway. Audubon’s Strategic Plan: A Road Map for Hemispheric Conservation maximizes our conservation results by focusing on five conservation strategies critical to birds: Putting Working Lands to Work for People and Birds; Saving Our Seas and Shores; Saving Important Birds Areas, including Montezuma, Constitution Marsh, Onondaga Lake, and Long Island Sound; Shaping a Healthy Climate and Clean Energy Future, and Creating Bird-Friendly Communities. 

Past recipients of the Thomas W. Keesee, Jr. Conservation Award include: 2013 Allison W. Rockefeller, 2012 Virginia K. Stowe, 2012 Margot Ernst, 2011 Toyota, 2011 Carol Browner, 2010 John Flicker, 2009 Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff, 2008 George E. Pataki, 2008 Peter Berle, In Memoriam, 2007 Adrian Benepe, 2007 Carol Ash, 2006 Wendy Paulson, 2004 Marian S. Heiskell, 2003 Samuel F. Pryor III, 2002 John Bierwirth, 2001 Donal O’Brien
The Audubon New York Fall Benefit, 2014 Keesee Award Luncheon will take place at The Metropolitan Club, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 5, 2014.  Individual tickets start at $350. Sponsorship opportunities remain. Kun Deng, Thomas W. Keesee III, Rick Lazio, Allen J. Model, and Michael O’Keeffe are serving as Benefit Committee chairs.  The menu will incorporate organic and locally-sourced produce donated by Snow Hill Farm from Audubon New York board member Laura O’Donohue.  Laura is Owner of Snow Hill Farm, a certified organic farm of more than 100 acres in North Salem, NY.  Fresh produce will also be donated by Hawthorne Farms and Katchkie Farm.  For more information, please call 518-869-9731 or visit
About Audubon New York: Audubon New York is the state’s leading voice for the conservation and protection of natural resources for birds.  Integrating science, conservation, policy and education, Audubon’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitat for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.   With 50,000 members and 27 affiliated chapters state-wide, Audubon New York oversees seven sanctuaries and centers, from Long Island to western New York, and protects priority habitats, including 130 Important Bird Areas identified as critical for the conservation of birds.  
About Thomas W. Keesee, Jr.: A long-time member of the National Audubon Society’s Board of Directors who served as its Chairman from 1979 to 1983, Keesee fostered ground-breaking initiatives in field work, such as the Save the Condor Program in California and the Puffin Project in Maine and held several leadership positions with conservation groups in New York, North Carolina and New Jersey. 

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