Women in Conservation awards
This year's award winners include Teresa Heinz Kerry, Bette Midler and the founders of the Women's Committee for the Central Park Conservancy. The first two winners posed with Weaver upon arriving at the Plaza.
Kerry received recognition for The Heinz Center, named for her late husband, Sen. John Heinz III. The nonprofit center focuses on environmental policy and partnerships between government, business, environmental organizations and academia.
Bette Midler founded the New York Restoration Project, which so far has established almost 60 gardens, cleaned more than 400 acres, turned an illegal dumping ground into a 5-acre public park on the Harlem River, and provided free environmental education and recreational programs. (I wish more entertainers followed her lead.)
The founders of the Women's Committee for the Central Park Conservancy created the means to raise more than 20 percent of the conservancy's $27 million annual operating budget. Jean Clark, Norma Dana, Marguerite Purnell, Elizabeth Barlow Rogers and Phyllis Cerf Wagner (deceased) founded the committee in 1983.
Weaver's role as the emcee apparently stems from a childhood interest in birdwatching. She recently narrated "Planet Earth" and recently finished two films with an environmental theme, "Wall-E" and "Avatar". "In 'Avatar,' Weaver plays a botanist devoted to studying and protecting a new planet. While shooting the film in New Zealand, she became fascinated with native birds and even more concerned with helping all bird species continue to survive," according to the NAS release.