WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Feb. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On February 22, 2011, two veteran environmentalists - Maggy Hurchalla and Nathaniel P. Reed - and renowned author and historian, Dr. Douglas Brinkley, together with students from local schools, convened at the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties in West Palm Beach to discuss environmental challenges, visions and hopes for the future, holding a panel discussion titled "Next Generation of Wilderness Warriors," presented in partnership with The Conservation Fund and The Society of the Four Arts.
The discussion was moderated by Elizabeth Dowdle, Senior Associate of The Conservation Fund. The Panel answered questions from young students emerging as environmental leaders from the Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy at Jupiter Community High School, the Pine Jog Fellows Program and the Forest Hill High School Environmental Science Academy.
As a part of the Foundation's "beyond grantmaking" leadership activities in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, the goal of the event was to connect future young environmental leaders of the community with renowned environmentalists, to share the transfer of knowledge and leadership through intergenerational exchange.
"Now more than ever," says Leslie Lilly, President and CEO of the Community Foundation, "there is urgency to learn from the experiences and lessons of the past, as well as from among our present day "wilderness warriors" if we are to encourage and sustain the commitment to and stewardship of our environment among a new generation of leaders. We need to understand how much has been lost and what remains that is critical to protect and conserve for the enjoyment and benefit of all future generations. Florida has been a bellwether state in advancing principles of environmental conservation because we have witnessed how easily we can lose what makes our state unique among all places in the world, especially with regard to the Everglades."
Panel participants Dr. Douglas Brinkley, Maggy Hurchalla and Nathaniel P. Reed all shared their inspirations and hopes for the young students who are interested in pursuing environmental studies.
"Join local environmental groups. Feel the passions of local conservation leagues, and then join a statewide organization. But, in order to succeed in protecting the environment, you must have - above all - a sound scholastic education," said Nathaniel P. Reed. Mr. Reed has served seven Florida governors and two U.S. presidents from 1971-1978 as the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He served on the Board of the National Geographic Society for two decades, and is a founder of 1000 Friends of Florida serving as both president and chairman. He is a founding member of the Everglades Foundation where he presently serves as Vice Chairman.
Dr. Douglas Brinkley, a tenured Professor of History at Rice University, authored the best-selling book "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America," which was published in July 2009. The book became an instant New York Times best-seller, was the recipient of the 2009 National Outdoor Book Award and the 2009 Green Prize for Sustainable Literature. "In 1903, President Roosevelt established Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge - not too far away from here - as the first federal bird reservation," noted Dr. Brinkley.
Maggy Hurchalla was an elected official in Florida from 1974 to 1994, as a member of the Martin County Board of County Commissioners, where she spearheaded comprehensive planning efforts. She has received numerous awards for her environmental work, including awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Everglades Coalition, Audubon of Florida, and both the Florida and National Wildlife Federations.
Leslie Lilly recognized the representatives from IBERIABANK, who, thanks to their sponsorship, have made it possible for local nonprofit organizations to use the Hill-Snowdon Community Room at the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties at no cost. In addition, special thanks went to Mr. Royall Victor III, Community Foundation Board Member and the Chair of the Environmental Committee, for his donation in making this event a success, as well as other members of the committee, including Mr. David Ober, Board Member and Vice-Chair of the Environmental Committee who opened the luncheon. Mrs. Lilly also recognized the presence of the Mayor of Palm Beach, Gail Coniglio.
About the Community Foundation
As one of Florida's largest community foundations, the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties advances quality of life, citizen engagement, and regional vitality through its promotion of philanthropy. We have been in existence for more than 35 years, with permanent endowment now totaling more than $100 million. Last year, the Foundation awarded over $3.4 million in grants and led initiatives to address critical issues of common concern among our region's communities, including hunger, homelessness, affordable housing, and the conservation and protection of water resources. We are the trusted steward of over 250 funds created by area families, philanthropists, corporations and private foundations for charitable investment in our region's communities. For more information, please visit yourcommunityfoundation.org or call 561.659.6800.
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SOURCE Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties