Washington D.C. – At a reception this evening, The Wilderness Society will present its highest honor, the Ansel Adams Award, to Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). The award is presented to a current or former federal official who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to conservation and public lands, especially in the current context of the accelerating climate crisis. Past recipients of the Ansel Adams Award include Jimmy Carter (1981), Stewart Udall (1986), Al Gore (1997), and John Lewis (2001).
On receiving the award, Chair Grijalva said, “When we protect our public lands and waters, we aren’t just safekeeping the nation’s natural resources, we are protecting our stories, our memories, and a legacy for our children and grandchildren. As climate change brings new threats to that legacy, we are called to double-down on our efforts to preserve it. But in doing so, we must honor and respect the voices of Indigenous Peoples and communities of color, which have been ignored in conservation decisions for far too long. I want to humbly thank The Wilderness Society for this award and pledge my commitment to keep fighting for our country’s natural, cultural, and spiritual heritage.”
“Throughout his four decades of public service, Chairman Grijalva has demonstrated a profound dedication to advocating for protecting open spaces, environmental justice and taking bold climate action,” said The Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams. “Chairman Grijalva’s extraordinary leadership in Congress as Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources has delivered tangible and historic conservation achievements, while always championing underrepresented voices in our nation. He brings vision, passion, and a deep commitment to protecting our public lands for their cultural and spiritual values.”
Chair Grijalva has proudly served on the Natural Resources Committee since he first came to Congress nearly two decades ago. After serving as Ranking Member for four years, he became Committee Chair in 2019. During his tenure, he has championed legislation to protect our public lands, waters, and special places, elevate tribal consultation and community input in land use decision-making, and comprehensively address the impacts of climate change. His leadership was instrumental in passing permanent authorization of the widely popular Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Prior to coming to Congress, Chair Grijalva was a conservation leader in his home state of Arizona, successfully leading development of the landmark Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. The plan has served as a model for land use planning and endangered species protection in communities across southern Arizona.