Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve presented awards to individuals and organizations making contributions to the conservation, stewardship and educational values of wild lands. The awards were presented during the organization’s Annual Members Meeting at the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek, NY in early October.
The Paul Schaefer Wilderness Award, the organization’s highest honor, was presented to Michale Glennon, Adirondack Science Coordinator and Conservation Biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Saranac Lake.
Glennon received the award for her field studies to identify birds and avian habitats at risk from land fragmentation and climate change, for her scientific testimony before governmental agencies, and for the biological information and assessments she and her colleagues have presented which, if applied, can enhance land use planning, biotic integrity and the conservation of intact forested landscapes in the globally significant Adirondack Park. The award is named for conservationist Paul Schaefer (1908-1996), the founder of Friends of the Forest Preserve and champion of Adirondack wilderness and wild and scenic rivers.
“Paul Schaefer was an admirer of 20th century conservation scientists and cited their work to support his efforts to expand the public’s forest preserve and preserve wild rivers,” Adirondack Wild’s David Gibson said in a statement sent to the press. “Today, Michale Glennon and her colleagues have placed the Adirondacks at the cutting edge of North American ecological research, a fact which Paul Schaefer would greatly admire.”
Following the award presentation, Glennon delivered prepared remarks titled “Making Room for Wildlife” in which she summarized data showing the Adirondack Park has higher levels of ecological integrity, resilience in the wake of climate change, and connectivity between wildlife habitats than either New York State as a whole or the mid-Atlantic region. She is committed to working in the Adirondack region she said, “because compared with other regions, ours is a landscape of opportunity. We still have high ecological integrity. We still have a chance to be proactive and avoid the worst effects of climate change.” For example, she described steps to design Adirondack residential development in ways that avoid large negative impacts to wildlife habitats.
A Wild Stewardship Award was conveyed to Steve Ovitt of Wevertown. Ovitt was recognized for his thirty years as a NYS DEC Forest Ranger overseeing public use and safety in the central Adirondacks; for his passion in instructing young people growing up here to become familiar, aware and knowledgeable about wilderness; and for starting his company, Wilderness Property Management, which specializes in creating trails and bridges compatible with wild outdoor settings on both public and private lands. In his acceptance remarks, Ovitt stressed the synergy between trail design and land management objectives. In a Wilderness, trail management should reflect Wilderness guidelines and contribute to maintaining or restoring wild conditions, he said.
A Wild Land Stewardship Award was conveyed to the organization Adirondack Treks. The award recognizes the organization’s efforts over the past five years to introduce young people in the central Adirondacks to their own backwoods, lakes, rivers, trails and slopes, and to teach them a variety of outdoor skills, and to inspire in them a sense of adventure, teamwork and confidence so important to their future, which also fosters caring for and conservation of their region of the Adirondacks. Accepting the award for Adirondack Treks was one of the organization’s founders, Kelly Nessle, a resident of Johnsburg.
Adirondack Wild’s own Staff Partner Ken Rimany was also recognized at the meeting for 20 years of service to the Adirondack Park. Rimany was hired in 1995 as the first Development Director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and since 2010 has worked with Adirodnack Wild.
Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is a not-for-profit, membership organization which advances New York’s “Forever Wild” legacy and Forest Preserve policies in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and promotes public and private land stewardship consistent with wild land values through education, advocacy and research. This summer the organization published Adirondack Park at a Crossroad: A Road Map for Action, available at www.adirondackwild.org.
Photo: Michale Glennon (provided by WCS).