Senator John Heinz


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The Heinz Awards


Russell Train

Occasionally, the Heinz Awards program receives nominations of individuals whose life's work has been so exceptional that a special recognition - the Chairman's Medal - is considered. This year, two truly remarkable individuals, Dorothy Height and Russell Train, are being so honored for their lifetime commitments to human rights and conservation efforts, respectively.

Mr. Train has had an extraordinary career - both in nature conservation and, more broadly, in environmental protection. In the mid-1950s, he had the opportunity to travel to Africa twice on safari. His exposure to the African wilderness, its beautiful and varied wildlife and its political landscape as it moved toward independent governments caused him great concern as to how wild Africa would be sustained over the long term. These impressions and concerns would shape the future course of his life.

He has been a tireless advocate for the cause of the environment ever since 1961 when he founded the African Wildlife Leadership Foundation and was a founding director of the World Wildlife Fund. He became president of The Conservation Foundation, then undersecretary of Interior, and then served as the first chairman of the President's Council on Environmental Quality. There, he put together a set of comprehensive environmental initiatives addressing air and water pollution, toxic substance control and endangered species among many other initiatives. He was the architect of an environmental agenda without parallel in history in its scope. In 1973, he became the second administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, an organization he had been instrumental in forming. He later served as president, chairman, and today, chairman emeritus of the World Wildlife Fund.

Today officially retired, Mr. Train continues his work through the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Fund, an endowment established in his honor by the World Wildlife Fund, which distributes more than $500,000 annually in scholarships and fellowships to help developing nations build the capacity to manage their own environmental affairs.

Note: This profile is excerpted from the commemorative brochure published at the time of the awards' presentation.


Russell Train passed away on September 17th, 2012.


September 2010 - Russell Train received the Teddy Roosevelt International Conservation Award from the International Conservation Caucus Foundation at the U.S. Congressional International Conservation Gala, on September 22, 2010 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. - ICCF


3/5/2001 - Acceptance Speech

Thank you so very much Teresa for this wonderful Award and thanks so much to all of the members of the board of the Foundation, jury, and all who have joined together to do this. And the real tribute belongs to all of those great people that I have worked with, still do, for many ... many years on the environmental issues. Some of them are here tonight ... Kathryn Fuller, President of the World Wildlife Fund ... Roger Sant until recently, Chairman of the World Wildlife Fund, Comrade at Arms in the Nixon and Ford Administration. Bob White, who was, when I was administrator of the EPA, he was administrator of NOAA, National Oceanic Atmospheric Agency, and we had many causes that we shared together and we have on occasion since then, found the opportunity to work together as a team. Tom Lovejoy, who, tropical ecologist artist of renown, worked with me at the World Wildlife Fund for a long time and has gone on to great things, Smithsonian, World Bank and so forth. Anyway, whatever success I've had in this field really has come, very definitely, from all of those people, and I am most grateful to all of them.

One of the particular joys has been even more eloquently expressed than I know I can do about this tribute, is that it is part of quite a long association with the Heinz Family. John was Senator, a man who I admired and liked immensely. He was a wonderful leader in so many areas and very particularly in the area of environment, as far as I was concerned, and we had the opportunity to work together on a number of occasions.

When I became President of the Conservation Foundation in nineteen sixty-five, John's father Jack was one of our trustees and sometime later, in fact twenty or more years later, when Bill Reilly was president of Conservation Foundation, and I was President of the World Wildlife Fund, we conspired together successfully to merge the Conservation Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund together, and Jack Heinz became a member of the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund, a position he filled until his death, when then his widow Drue took his place. So, that's a long association, which I value.

The thing that I most applaud is the continuing emphasis that the Heinz Awards have given, and continue to give, to the whole environmental issue. That is just wonderful. It's an area obviously, which I've spent the last forty years or so working in, and feel extremely, deeply about. I am convinced that the ability of our human society to live and work in harmony with the natural world around us on this earth is the critical determinate of the quality of human life for the indefinite future, and indeed for the very survival of humanity. Absolutely no question in my mind about that. It is important, in this town particularly, that we do not jump for quick, short term fixes for long term problems. And I think of the Artic wildlife range in that connection.

It's a very human instinct to look at the short term and they're not worried too much about what lies ahead down the road. And I can say ... while I'm not a primatologist ... that that is simply plain old primate behavior. We have to rise above it, and hopefully we will. And with the support of persons such as yourselves, I think we can do it. I remain an optimist. Thank you so very much, Teresa, once again.

Thank you all for being here.
Russell Train
Russell Train