Washington, D.C.,
12:00 AM

Defenders' CEO awarded Audubon's prestigious 'Rachel Carson Award'

For Immediate Release

Washington (May 17, 2017) – Defenders of Wildlife’s president and CEO, Jamie Rappaport Clark, was awarded the National Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award for her lifetime of commitment to protecting endangered and threated species and their habitats.

A video tribute to Clark’s career is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjVWt773Txc 

Clark, along with Dr. Heidi Cullen, chief scientist at Climate Central and Anne Thompson, chief environmental correspondent at NBC News, received the awards at the 14th annual Women in Conservation luncheon in New York City.

“This award is a tremendous honor that I will cherish forever,” Clark said. “Rachel Carson has always been a hero of mine, an inspiration for the work I do. I am very thankful to the National Audubon Society for this recognition.”

Clark became president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife in October 2011, after serving as executive vice president since 2004. Clark has devoted her career to the preservation and protection of America’s wildlife, spending nearly 20 years doing federal conservation work, culminating with her service as the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after an appointment by President Bill Clinton in 1997. Under Clark’s leadership, Defenders has become widely recognized as an important strategic thought leader on conservation policy and implementation.

When Clark was in college, she worked for Cornell University on a reintroduction program of peregrine falcons into the wild. Twenty years later, as the director of FWS, she stood on the cliffs near the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise to announce the falcon’s recovery and removal from the list of endangered species.

“It was that pivotal point of working with a species on the brink of extinction that made me realize that I wanted to work with imperiled wildlife,” Clark said.

Most recently, Clark has led an effort at Defenders of Wildlife to defend the Endangered Species Act, our nation’s most effective law protecting wildlife in danger of extinction. She recently testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works at an oversight hearing on the Act where she spoke of the law’s significance to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitat. In the last two years alone, Congress has attacked the Endangered Species Act through nearly 150 bills, amendments and riders.

“The ESA is this nation’s most farsighted commitment to future generations, promising to sustain the richness of life on earth for our benefit and that of our children to come,” Clark said. “Endangered species and the plans put in place to restore them are increasingly presented as barriers or annoyances to unfettered development or unchecked land use activities. The Act is enormously flexible, however, and has been improved by continuous administrative reforms that have made the law work better, both for the species it is designed to protect and for the landowners and stakeholders affected by its provisions. Rachel Carson was our foremost voice for endangered wildlife, and I am proud to follow her path.”


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.