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NEW YORK-- The founder of the world's first cheetah protection program, the director of The Nature Conservancy in Utah and the creator of a unique art education program in Canada are among the six winners honored by the 49th annual ChevronTexaco Conservation Awards.
"Any conservation effort -- large or small -- makes a difference. It is our hope that recognizing award-winning conservation efforts educates and inspires others to preserve natural resources," said Rhonda Zygocki, vice president of health, environment and safety for ChevronTexaco.
Since its founding in 1954 by the late Ed Zern, an acclaimed American outdoors writer, the ChevronTexaco Conservation Awards have honored more than 1,000 volunteers, professionals and organizations for their practical and creative solutions to environmental challenges.
An independent panel of leading conservationists selected the winners. Award recipients were honored at ceremonies at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Canada, and each received a $10,000 prize.
The ChevronTexaco Conservation Award honorees for 2003 are:
Robert Bateman, The Robert Bateman National Wildlife Week Writing and Art Contest. Bateman launched his unique educational program in Canada to help young people learn about the country's wildlife heritage, endangered species, climate change concerns and environmental protection efforts. Last year more than 42,000 entries were received; 100,000 entries from all over Canada are expected this year.
Dr. Karen Eckert, Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST). As executive director of WIDECAST, Dr. Eckert's remarkable efforts to save the endangered sea turtle have resulted in an international response involving nearly 40 governments, the United Nations, fellow scientists and conservationists. Because of her ability to find collaborative solutions that balance community needs and marine protection, the decline of sea turtles in the Caribbean region has been reversed.
David Livermore, The Nature Conservancy of Utah. During the past two decades under Mr. Livermore's leadership, The Nature Conservancy of Utah has completed more than 100 conservation projects, which have protected more than 800,000 acres of public and private land in the state.
Dr. Laurie Marker, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). Seeing the number of cheetahs in Africa fall from 30,000 to just 15,000 in the last quarter century, Dr. Marker founded CCF in 1990. It is the first organization created solely to saving the endangered cheetah. Based in central Namibia, Africa CCF has become an international model for protecting endangered species.
Elizabeth Cushman Titus Putnam, Student Conservation Association (SCA). Since Putnam founded SCA 47 years ago, it has grown into the nation's leading conservation service organization for young people. Today, more than 2,700 SCA volunteers are active each year in national parks, forests and urban green spaces in all 50 states in the U.S. From Alaska's tundra to Yellowstone's geysers to the Everglade's fragile ecosystem, SCA volunteers restore habitats, protect wildlife and conduct research.
Susan Seacrest, Groundwater Foundation. Seacrest launched the Groundwater Foundation 18 years ago when she became aware of studies linking groundwater contamination to the alarming cancer rates in Nebraska. Since then, the foundation has blossomed into an international model for protecting groundwater. Its Groundwater Guardian (GG) program has become a vast network of 200 communities and organizations in 37 states. In 2002, GG teams implemented protection programs affecting more than 15 million citizens.