Audubon’s Women in Conservation Luncheon Honors Susanne Durst, Kathleen Finlay, and Laura O’Donohue with Rachel Carson Award
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NEW YORK – The National Audubon Society celebrated the legacy of female leadership in conservation yesterday by presenting three women with the Rachel Carson Award at the 20th Women in Conservation Luncheon. The prestigious Audubon award recognizes visionary women whose dedication, talent, and energy have advanced positive environmental change locally and on a global scale. This year’s event focused on women in farming and honors three New York-based leaders in the organic farming and sustainability movement: Susanne Durst of McEnroe Organic Farm, Kathleen Finlay, President of the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming, and Laura O’Donohue, Founder and CEO of Snow Hill Farm, LLC.
“Audubon is proud to honor these conservation champions with the 2023 Rachel Carson Award,” said Elizabeth Gray, CEO of the National Audubon Society. “Their leadership in organic farming and commitment to creating a more sustainable future embodies the true spirit of the award. Through their innovative work, these passionate changemakers are inspiring the next generation of young women to cultivate a life of empowerment and environmental activism.”
The 20th Women in Conservation Luncheon was emceed by NBC News’ Chief Environmental Affairs Correspondent Anne Thompson and held at Bryant Park Grill in Manhattan.
“This year the Rachel Carson Awards Council was greatly enthusiastic about Sustainable Farming and chose three farmers of great renown who each preside over a legendary farm landscape. These three farms, Snow Hill, McEnroe, and Glynwood are veteran farming operations which established early footholds in the sustainable agriculture movement and whose leadership since has assisted and inspired countless sustainable farms. I am just thrilled to welcome sustainable farmers, Laura O’Donohue, Kathleen Finlay, and Susanne Durst as 2023 Rachel Carson Award honorees”, said Allison Whipple Rockefeller, founder of the Audubon’s Rachel Carson Award.
Guests included: Laureen Barber, Mark Bittman, Douglas Brinkley, Jayni Chase, Ann Stevenson Colley, Trip Gabriel, Nicole Miller, Anne Thompson, and Allison Whipple Rockefeller.
About the Awardees Susanne Durst is a passionate advocate for sustainable living and organic farming. Her commitment to eliminating harmful fertilizers and pesticides has led to the creation of McEnroe Organic Farm in Millerton, NY, which produces certified organic harvests. In collaboration with her husband, Douglas Durst, and the McEnroes, a fifth-generation farming family, Susanne Durst has pioneered sustainable farming practices and helped pioneer organic certifications. McEnroe Organic Farm provides educational programming to promote local, sustainable agriculture awareness.
Susanne’s dedication to creating a more sustainable future for future generations is evident in her advocacy for organic farming and sustainable landscaping. She is recognized as a leader in healthy landscaping practices that avoid pesticides and fertilizers. As an active gardener in Palm Beach and Katonah, she is passionate about teaching others to garden in ways that promote bird and bug habitats.
As a non-profit executive and a connector of feminist leaders, Kathleen Finlay is passionate about advancing food, environmental and social justice. She is the President of the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming in the Hudson Valley and the Founder of Pleiades, a membership organization working to advance women’s leadership in the sustainability movement. An experienced non-profit leader, connector, and network builder, Kathleen is particularly interested in empowering women and historically marginalized individuals to address our most pressing issues, especially humanity’s relationship with the natural world.
Since arriving at Glynwood in 2012, Kathleen has refined its mission and expanded its impact, helping it become a leading organization in the world of progressive agricultural nonprofits. Under her direction, Glynwood is now a premier learning hub for food and farming professionals, an innovator of programs to increase access to regionally produced food while resourcing BIPOC, women and LGBTQIA+ regenerative farmers, and provides a demonstration and training farm on the 250 acres the organization stewards. Kathleen holds a degree in Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master of Science in Science Journalism from Boston University. She lives in the Hudson Valley of New York and often visits her homeland of Bermuda.
Laura O’Donohue is the founder and CEO of Snow Hill Farm, a working farm on over 100 acres of gardens, pastures, and woodlands in the town of North Salem, NY that was established in 2004 to produce fresh and healthful organic produce. Laura is committed to preserving and sustaining the land in healthy condition for future generations. The farm cultivates USDA organic produce, has a variety of fruit orchards, pasture raised eggs, wildflower honey, a woodlands program that sells sustainably harvested firewood, and a robust compost program designed to build healthy soils. Snow Hill Farm is proud to have received a Bird Habitat Certification awarded for organic farming practices, a habitat management plan and creation of a bird-friendly property at a working farm.
Laura is involved in many not-for-profit organizations including the Stanford University Doerr School of Sustainability Educational Farm Advisory Board, the Yale University Sustainable Food Program Stewardship Council, and on the boards of Audubon New York, New 42nd Street and formerly the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY). In addition to her farm and board work Laura is completing a master’s degree at University of Cambridge in Sustainability Leadership. The focus of her studies has centered on food waste, an environmental issue and food insecurity, a social justice issue.
About Audubon Women in Conservation Established in 2003 in honor of Rachel Carson, author and monumental figure of the modern environmental movement, Audubon Women in Conservation strives to recognize the female environmental leaders who change the world and inspire the next generation of young women who will join them in environmental careers and activism. Proceeds from the Audubon Women in Conservation luncheon support Audubon’s conservation efforts in New York and across the network. For more information, visit www.womeninconservation.org.
About Audubon The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
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