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Nominees For The American Heritage Society Awards

July 2024
2min read


(1) Alaska Conservation Society, College, Alaska,

is fighting to soften the impact on Alaska’s fragile environment of massive development triggered by the newly found oil reserves. It is calling for a long-range plan for the entire state that will protect the resources, including potential wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, and game ranges, and it proposes additional national parks.

(2) Big Thicket Association, Liberty, Texas,

is working to save a fragment of what was once a sweeping expanse of over three million acres. This wilderness is a dense and luxurious growth of giant magnolia, beech, oak, and pine; a haven for orchids, ferns, and flowering shrubs. Today’s remaining three hundred thousand acres of Big Thicket are the last refuge of the once bountiful wildlife of Texas—bears, panthers, wildcats, and possibly the ivory-billed woodpecker, long thought to be extinct. The entire acreage is privately owned and is currently disappearing at the rate of fifty acres a day.

(3) Conservation Society of Southern Vermont, Bondville, Vermont,

works to counter the destruction of natural resources brought on by an unchecked land boom. Developers are bulldozing forests and farmlands to build small-lot houses for skiers, hunters, and vacationers. The society is fighting a major paper company’s badly planned subdivision of twelve hundred acres on and near Stratton Mountain, one of the few wild tracts in the area.

(4) Delaware Valley Citizens’ Council for Clean Air, Philadelphia,

stimulates local action to combat air pollution in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. Its members helped pass Philadelphia’s new model air-management code.

(5) Escalante Wilderness Committee, Salt Lake City, Utah,

was formed to preserve the Escalante Canyon country as a protected wilderness, and is fighting a proposed state highway that would cut across this unspoiled and beautiful bit of southeastern Utah.

(6) Hells Canyon Preservation Council, Idaho Falls, Idaho,

is challenging private power companies in its effort to prevent the building of any dams on the Middle Snake River between the existing Low Hells Canyon Dam and Lewiston, Idaho. This one-hundred-mile stretch of wild white water plunges through the awesome canyon depths along the Idaho-Oregon border.

(7) Laughing Brook Education Center, Hampden, Massachusetts:

On a farm owned by the late Thornton Burgess, author of children’s stories, a nature center is being established by the Massachusetts Audubon Society “to be both testing ground and prototype for innovative conservation education.” The Burgess landscape (“Green Meadows,” “Green Forest,” and “Old Orchard”) will be preserved; real-life counterparts of Peter Rabbit, Reddy Fox, and Jerry Muskrat will be on view in natural settings; and a program of lectures, films, and outdoor-indoor exhibits will be developed to give children an ecological view of the natural world and of their place in it.

(8) The Old Santa Fe Association, Santa Fe, New Mexico,

has worked since 1926 to preserve valuable old Spanish, American, and Indian buildings and to maintain the special character of the city. A recent effort of the association has been a three-year fight to save the last row of eighteenth-century working-class homes in the Bario Analco, one of the oldest sections of Santa Fe.

(9) Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Inc., Sanibel Island, Florida,

has been established to protect from commercial development the natural heritage of these two semitropical islands in the Gulf of Mexico, long famous for their birds, seashells, and scenery. Little time is left to implement its program of land acquisition, wildlife protection, and education.

(10) Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference, New York, New York,

is dedicated to the preservation of the natural resources and areas of scenic and historic importance along the Hudson River. Through vigorous campaigns to save the Hudson Valley from highways, industrial developments, and power plants (most notably at Storm King Mountain), the organization has gained national recognition for its conservation victories.

(11) South Hill Neighborhood Association, Lexington, Kentucky,

is fighting in the courts and the community to save fourteen historic buildings of unusual interest in a three-block area in Lexington. Listed on the National Register, the buildings span one hundred years of history and include four eighteenth-century log houses, imposing Federal town houses, and two churches.

(12) The Wyckoff Association in America, Brooklyn, New York,

is working to restore the Pieter Wyckoff House, the oldest building (1641 or earlier) standing in New York ‘state and one of the oldest wooden buildings in the country. It has been designated a landmark by the Landmarks Commission and described by the State Historical Association as a “unique treasure.” It is in critical condition after decades of deterioration.

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