Audubon New York is thrilled to announce that DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos is the recipient of this year's "Audubon Award for Environmental Excellence."
The Award is given jointly by Audubon New York and the Audubon Council of New York, the organization comprising the 27 Audubon chapters in the state. At a ceremony held in Albany, Joy Cirigliano, Board Chair of the Audubon Council, co-presented the award with Mike Burger, Executive Director of Audubon Connecticut and New York.
“The programs and policies which Commissioner Seggos has championed throughout his tenure have been essential to protecting vulnerable birds and other wildlife, and creating a healthier environment for us all,” said Burger. “Most important, the Commissioner recognizes that it is time for us to act on climate. Birds are indicators of change, and their declines are telling us that we need to act now. We are especially proud to present the Commissioner with this award for his dedicated efforts to achieve New York’s climate goals while also protecting birds and their habitats.”
The Audubon Award is the premier recognition bestowed upon a government official by Audubon New York and the Audubon Council. Among Seggos’ noteworthy accomplishments are: his instrumental role in passing the nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and co-leading the creation of the Draft Climate Scoping Plan that will allow New York State to achieve its climate goals; improving the health of our forests by launching the Young Forest Initiative and the Regenerate NY program; co-chairing the Lake Ontario REDI Initiative and facilitating resiliency projects that utilize nature-based solutions; leading the creation and implementation of the $5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act; releasing the new Strategy for Grassland Bird Habitat Management and Conservation; and most recently, launching the New York State Birding Trail, which features some of the best spots to bird across the state and will also make birding more accessible for all New Yorkers.
“I am grateful to my friends and colleagues in conservation at Audubon New York and the Audubon Council of New York State for this award and recognition which I share with DEC’s dedicated and talented team of professionals working daily to promote the conservation, protection and stewardship of our local wildlife and their habitat. As New York State and the nation confront a critical moment in the fight to combat climate change, meaningful contributions from strong partners like Audubon will help us reverse threats to our precious natural resources and all who rely on them. I value DEC’s strong partnership with the Audubon Council of New York State and remain committed to working together to build on our collective legacies of conservation and environmental protection,” said Seggos.
“The Audubon Council is thrilled to honor Commissioner Seggos for all of the work that he has done and will continue to do to protect our environment and encourage more New Yorkers to learn about the joy of birding, the beauty of our natural world and the importance of conserving and preserving our open spaces," said Cirigliano. “Our native plants, birds, and other wildlife are irreplaceable and we are thankful for both Basil Seggos' and the NYS DEC's outstanding efforts to preserve and protect our state parks, wildlife management areas and other unique areas for future generations.”
From working to pass laws that protect us against climate change to restoration projects for New York's air, land, and water, Commissioner Seggos has proven his commitment to New York's environment and the birds, and humans, who rely on it.