Press Room

Audubon New York Honors Laura O’Donohue and John McPhee

Conservationists are honored at the annual Keesee Award Luncheon in New York City on November 7.

NEW YORK (November 13, 2018) – Laura O’Donohue and John McPhee were honored with the Thomas W. Keesee, Jr. Conservation Award and the Audubon New York Award for Environmental Writing, respectively, on Wednesday, November 7 at The Metropolitan Club in New York City. The annual Keesee Award Luncheon provides critical support to the conservation work that makes Audubon New York the leading voice for birds and the places they need across the state.

“Audubon New York is proud to honor Laura O’Donohue and John McPhee for their commitment to conservation, now and into the future,” said Ana Paula Tavares, executive director of Audubon New York and Connecticut. “Through their dedicated efforts to educate, inform and inspire, they are awakening new generations of conservation leaders.”

Guests included: David Yarnold, President and CEO of the National Audubon Society, Virginia Stowe, Chair of the Audubon New York Board of Directors, Laureen Barber, Fiona Howe Rudin, Allison Whipple Rockefeller, Patricia Hearst Shaw, Laurie Hodgson, Warrie Price, Dr. Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky, David B. Ford, Robert Strang, Elizabeth van Merkensteijn, Peter Lehner, Elizabeth W. Smith, Gloria Fieldcamp, Connan Ashforth, Katie O’Brien, Fe Fendi, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, Cora Cahan, Connie Roosevelt, Kim Elliman, and Assemblyman Steven Otis.

The Thomas W. Keesee, Jr. Conservation Award is presented annually by Audubon New York to honor the individual or individuals who have shown remarkable leadership and commitment, particularly in New York State, to Audubon’s mission. Laura O’Donohue is a recognized leader in the world of organic farming and environmental education. Snow Hill Farm, the working organic farm Laura owns and manages in North Salem, NY, is a successful model of responsible farming, growing fresh, healthful foods while building and maintaining healthy soil, composting, conserving natural resources and bird habitat, and hosting educational tours for school groups. Wednesday’s luncheon featured organic vegetables and all-natural, grass-fed pork and Registered Angus beef from Snow Hill Farm.

Created in 2015, the Audubon New York Award for Environmental Writing recognizes writers who use the power of the pen to influence positive change in the world of environmental conservation in support of Audubon’s mission. John McPhee is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and educator, widely considered one of the pioneers of the creative nonfiction genre. John has been a staff writer with The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. He is the author of over thirty books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Annals of the Former World (1999) and has served as the Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University since 1974. His latest work The Patch, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, is set to be released on November 13th.

For more information about the Keesee Award and to see a list of past winners, visit

About Audubon New York
Audubon New York, the state program of the National Audubon Society, protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization.

How you can help, right now