The Walden Woods Project, founded by music legend Don Henley, presented Sky Island Alliance with the prestigious 2014 Environmental Challenge Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations that have created solutions to specific environmental challenges at a local, regional or national level. Robert Redford received the 2014 Global Environmental Leadership Award, given for the first time to President Bill Clinton in 2012. Henley hosted the event at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre in Boston, Mass., and it concluded with a live concert performance by The Eagles. Jan Holder, Sergio Avila and Jessica Moreno attended the event to meet with Redford and Henley and receive the award on behalf of Sky Island Alliance.
“Waiting behind the blue curtain backstage with Robert Redford was a surreal experience,” said Sky Island Alliance biologist Jessica Moreno. “Redford paused to give a nod in our direction during his speech. Then they are talking about Sky Island Alliance and the importance of our work while our jaguar photos flash overhead, and we are stepping into view of 3,600 people to shake Don Henley’s hand. It was emotionally overwhelming, and gratifying, to have Sky Island Alliance recognized by The Walden Woods Project this way.”
The Walden Woods Project is a nonprofit organization committed to conservation, research, education and advocacy. It was founded by Don Henley, a recording artist who was also a founding member of The Eagles, to foster an ethic of environmental stewardship, social responsibility and to address the global environmental challenges of our time.
The Sept. 17 2014 event included dinner with food from the Walden Woods Farm and a VIP reception with Redford and members of The Eagles. Redford received the 2014 Global Environmental Leadership Award, also given to President Bill Clinton in 2012. Sky Island Alliance was recognized with an Environmental Challenge Award, framed and autographed by Henley. The award came with a $1,000 donation from the Walden Woods Project. Henley hosted the event at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre in Boston, Mass.,and it concluded with a live concert performance by The Eagles.
Sky Island Alliance received one of four Environmental Challenge Awards, which recognizes individuals or organizations that have created solutions to specific environmental challenges at a local, regional or national level. The Walden Woods Project hopes the awardees will serve as models for others facing similar challenges.
Also receiving awards were 16 year-old Deepika Kurup of Nashua, New Hampshire for the development of a pervious composite to purify wastewater; the Student Conservation Association for their youth conservation programs; and Gardens for Health for their sustainable home farming work to decrease malnutrition in African countries.
Sky Island Alliance, a conservation group known for their bi-national focus, science-based conservation and volunteer engagement, bases their work on the same principals and ethics of Henry David Thoreau, who inspired the Walden Woods Project, and Aldo Leopold.
“We are honored to receive this award on behalf of Sky Island Alliance staff, members and volunteers. I am especially thankful to all our partners in northern Mexico who, in spite of the struggles, create stories of success and hope on both sides of the border,” says Sky Island Alliance biologist Sergio Avila. “We dedicate this award to the jaguar Macho B and all those jaguars, ocelots, Mexican gray wolves and all wild animals, plants and places that inspire us to continue working on their behalf.”
“We can live with jaguars, we can live with wolves,” says Jan Holder, Sky Island Alliance’s Executive Director. “It is a constant struggle for a small organization like ours to fund this amazing work every year and this award will help others learn more about what we do, and how to get involved.”