National Conservation Achievement Award Honorees

These individuals and organizations are rich in inspiration and leadership.  We’re proud to celebrate their achievements and contributions to the conservation movement in America!

    The following are being honored during our
    2015 “Connie” awards:

    William McDonough:
    J.N. “Ding” Darling Conservation Award

    William McDonough

    William McDonough, FAIA, Int. FRIBA, is a globally recognized designer, thought leader, sustainable growth pioneer, and the pre-eminent voice for ecologically intelligent design and what he calls “waging peace through commerce.” For 40 years he has defined the principles of the sustainability movement, creating its seminal buildings, products, texts and enterprises and preparing the ground for its widespread growth.

    A prolific innovator and visionary leader, he is the architect of NASA’s Sustainability Base, Ford Rouge Center and other flagships of sustainable design. William McDonough is also the co-creator of Cradle to Cradle®, a global standard for the design of safe, healthy products; business strategist for leading global companies; and an advisor to the United Nations, the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, the Clinton Global Initiative and the World Economic Forum. He is also author of The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability (1992), which remains a touchstone of the movement, and co-author of the widely influential Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002) and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance (2013).

    In recognition of his visionary work, McDonough has received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996) for leadership and public service; the U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003) for groundbreaking innovations in product development; and the Smithsonian’s National Design Award (2004) for outstanding achievement in environmental design.  In 2012, McDonough began an unprecedented collaboration with Stanford University Libraries to create a “living archive” of sustainability with real-time collection of his professional papers and current communications serving as its centerline. McDonough is currently serving as Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on the Circular Economy.  Time named him “Hero for the Planet” in 1999, stating that his “utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world.”

    William McDonough + Partners, McDonough’s award-winning architecture practice at the forefront of the green building movement, is dedicated to place-specific, high performance designs that support ecological health and human well-being. As one of the pioneers of the green building movement, McDonough has earned the reputation of being “the leading environmental architect of our time.” McDonough designed the first “green office” in New York for the Environmental Defense Fund (1985) and established many of the principles and practices that have come to define sustainable design.

    McDonough has co-founded a number of not-for-profit organizations to provide widespread access to the Cradle to Cradle paradigm. These include GreenBlue (2000); the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (2009), which administers the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ protocol; and Make It Right, co-founded with Brad Pitt (2006) to bring affordable Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes to New Orleans. Follow William McDonough on Twitter for his latest news and updates.

    NYC iSchool:
    Education Award

    In 2014, the NYC iSchool was recognized by NWF’s Eco-School USA program with the Green Flag award for conserving natural resources and integrating environmental education into the curriculum. Science teacher Peter Mulroy designed and taught a series of nine-week intensive science modules incorporating eight of the ten Eco-School Pathways. In each of these modules, student groups collected data on the school’s environmental impact and used the data to propose and implement lasting positive changes to make the iSchool a more sustainable place. Check out this amazing video to see iSchool students in action.

    The NYC iSchool opened in 2008 with 100 ninth grade students in a 100-plus-year-old school building in the SoHo area of Manhattan. The iSchool shares its space with another high school and operates within the same policies and regulations of any NYC public high school. Each year since its opening, the school has added approximately 120 new ninth graders; the school is now at capacity with approximately 450 students.

    Peter Mulroy has been teaching science to high school students across New York City for the past seven years. Mr. Mulroy teaches Earth Science and AP Environmental Science and serves as the school’s sustainability coordinator. A firm believer in authentic, place-based science education, Mr. Mulroy has designed curricula at the iSchool partnering with NYC-based conservation groups such as Trees NY, the Lower East Side Ecology Center and the NYC Audubon Society. He is a Math for America Master Science Teacher.

    Forest Stewardship Council:
    Organization Award

    The Forest Stewardship Council is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes environmentally sound, socially beneficial, and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. As a democratic platform to bring diverse interests together, FSC was created in 1993 to help consumers and businesses identify products from responsibly managed forests. FSC sets standards by which forests are certified, offering credible verification to people who are buying wood and wood products. FSC has more than 29,900 certificate holders in 113 countries, and 450 million acres of forestland are certified under FSC standards around the world. For more information visit

    Senator Debbie Stabenow & Congressman Jeff Fortenberry:
    Legislative Award

    Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan was elected to the United States Senate in 2000. Senator Stabenow is the author of the 2014 Farm Bill, which contains the most far-reaching enhancements to land and water conservation policy in decades, including the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which will empower landowners, conservation groups and local communities to lead the way on conservation projects for water, air and wildlife. The Farm Bill improved conservation standards for all farmers and ranchers who participate in agricultural support programs, including protecting native sod in the prairie pothole region. Senator Stabenow is currently the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. She is also a senior member of the Senate Finance, Energy and Budget Committees. Throughout her career she has been a fierce defender of the Great Lakes and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. The first legislation she passed as a Senator was a bill to prevent drilling in the Great Lakes.

    Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
    Congressman Jeff Fortenberry was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2004 to serve Nebraska's First Congressional District. His work in Congress is rooted in the belief that the strength of our nation depends on the strength of our families and communities. Congressman Fortenberry has been a strong champion for wildlife. Coming from a farm state, he has advocated for farmers and ranchers as well as for sound conservation and land management to benefit soil, water, and wildlife. Congressman Fortenberry represented Nebraska on the Agriculture Committee, where his work on two Farm Bills advanced opportunities for young and beginning farmers and promoted agricultural entrepreneurship. During the 2014 Farm Bill, he boldly championed provisions to protect our nation’s wetlands and prairies, as well as the wildlife that depend upon these ecosystems. Thanks in large part to his efforts, the Farm Bill included these critical conservation provisions. Through his role on the Appropriations Committee, he has advocated for funding for Farm Bill conservation programs to help farmers, ranchers and foresters voluntarily adopt conservation practices on their lands, delivering clean water, healthy soil, and abundant habitat for wildlife. Additionally, Congressman Fortenberry has been a long-time supporter of the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - a program that provides federal grant funds for states to develop and implement programs that benefit wildlife species of greatest conservation need. He serves on the Energy and Water, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and State and Foreign Operations subcommittees, he cofounded the Nuclear Security Working Group, and also serves as co-chair of the Caucus on Religious Minorities in the Middle East and co-chair of the Congressional Study Group on Europe. Jeff and his wife Celeste live in Lincoln, Nebraska where they are raising their five daughters.

    Jim Posewitz:
    Conservationist of the Year

    Jim Posewitz, or "Poz" as he is known out West, is a sportsmen leader held in the highest regard. A gifted historian, Mr. Posewitz tirelessly advocates on behalf of sportsmen for the importance of preserving and protecting wildlife and wild places. He has written four books on hunter ethics, including Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting (Falcon Press, 1994), Inherit the Hunt: A Journey into the Hear of American Hunting (Falcon Press, 1999), Rife in Hand: How Wild America was Save (Riverbend Publishing, 2004) and Take a Bullet for Conservation (self-published, 2011). Most recently, Mr. Posewitz has worked closely with National Wildlife Federation championing the restoration of bison in Montana. Watch this video to learn more about Mr. Posewitz’s great work in Montana.

    Mr. Posewitz served as the Executive Director of both the Cinnabar Foundation and Orion, The Husters’ Institute. He worked for the State of Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks for over 30 years, after receiving his Bachelors and Masters of Science from Montana State University.

    See last year's honorees >>

    Full listing of previous National Conservation Achievement Award winners >> 


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