2019 Rachel Carson Award honoree Rose Harvey recognizes Ellen Kelly

by Jane Ahrens

Audubon’s Annual Women in Conservation Luncheon Honors Rose H. Harvey and The Garden Club of America, with Ellen Harvey Kelly as a pioneering member.

NEW YORK – On May 16 at the Plaza Hotel, the National Audubon Society celebrated the legacy of female leadership in environmental conservation at its annual Women in Conservation luncheon. The prestigious Rachel Carson Award was presented to Rose H. Harvey, former Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and The Garden Club of America, whose president Dede Petri accepted on behalf of the organization.

“As birds and people face the growing threats of our changing climate and habitat loss, it’s more important than ever to conserve and protect the green spaces of our country. Audubon is honored to celebrate this year’s Rachel Carson Award honorees, Rose H. Harvey and The Garden Club of America,” said David O’Neill, chief conservation officer of the National Audubon Society. “These women are dedicated, proven leaders in the conversation movement by preserving and growing urban and public gardens that provide havens of bird-friendly native plants, helping our birds adapt to our changing climate.”

Ellie Kelly with her niece Rose Harvey at the Audubon luncheon.

“Rose H. Harvey and The Garden Club of America keep the courageous spirit of Rachel Carson alive through their outstanding contributions to the environmental movement,” said Ana Paula Tavares, executive director of Audubon New York. “Their work to establish urban gardens and playgrounds in underserved neighborhoods, restore native habitats, and advocate for important conservation funding reminds us that American women bring strength and conviction to the protection of all life on Earth.”

In her remarks, Rose recognized The Garden Club of America, with her aunt Ellen Kelly as a pioneering member of 59 years, as examples of women based environmental organizations and individuals who have made a difference in the environmental movement. Rose talked about Ellen being her model and example of the passion, the perseverance and the action on the ground needed to conserve, and steward our ecosystems and understand and nurture our human connections to the land and environment. To paraphrase Aldo Leopold, Rose and Ellen believe, “You cannot conserve the land without the people and the people without the land.” Rose said, “Aunt Ellen understood this 60 years ago, and she and the Garden Club of America, fighting against all odds, helped build a conservation and land ethic, from which the next generation launches.

Among her accomplishments, Ellen Harvey Kelly has served as a president of The Garden Club of America; member of the National Audubon Society Rachel Carson board; a member of the A Founder of Scenic America and the Women’s Committee at the Walter’s Art Museum; Maryland Environment Trust Board member and treasurer; Keep Maryland Beautiful committee; and protecting Maryland’s Program Open Space (POS) funding for decades.

Reprinted from the Luncheon Program:
Rose H. Harvey, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo nominated Rose Harvey to serve as Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in January 2011. In her 8 years as Commissioner, she oversaw the addition of over 17,000 additional acres of New York State parkland, including the Shirley Chisholm Park and the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center. With the support of the Governor, she further secured an unprecedented $900,000,000 investment through the Parks 2020 Initiative, ensuring resources for vital infrastructure repair.

Women in Conservation luncheon program, The Plaza Hotel, NYC. Photo: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

About Audubon’s 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 our world, and inspire the next generation of young women who will join them in environmental careers and activism. Proceeds from Audubon Women in Conservation support Audubon’s conservation efforts, including our Long Island Sound and Coastal Stewardship Program and the Audubon Women in Conservation Internship. For more information, visit audubon.org/WIC.

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