The Defenders of Wildlife Legacy Award acknowledges lifetime achievement in wildlife conservation.
It’s hard to overstate the impact UC Hastings Professor John Leshy has had on decades of projects at the US Department of the Interior. He has served in the Interior Department under three different presidents, including as Solicitor (General Counsel) throughout the Clinton Administration. Previously he taught at Arizona State University College of Law (1980-1992), and served in the Interior Department in the Carter Administration, with the Committee on Natural Resources, US House of Representatives, and with the Natural Resources Defense Council in California. In 2008-2009 he co-chaired the Obama Administration transition team for the Interior Department. Leshy has published four books and more than 50 articles, essays, and book chapters on nearly every subject within the field of environmental law.
So it is hardly a surprise that Leshy has been chosen as the 2013 honoree for the Defenders of Wildlife Legacy Award, which will be presented at an awards ceremony September 19 in Washington, DC. The Legacy Award, the highest honor the organization bestows, was established in 2007 to recognize exceptional contributions in wildlife conservation. The award will be presented to Professor Leshy by Bruce Babbitt, the 2008 Legacy Award recipient, who is also the inaugural speaker for the UC Hastings Gordon Mathis Riley Lecture in Environmental Law. Defenders board members Ed Asner and Caroline Gabel are co-chairs of the event and board member Jeff Corwin will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
“We are so pleased to be honoring Professor John Leshy at this year’s Wildlife Conservation Awards Dinner,” says Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. “John’s advocacy for the Endangered Species Act, in addition to his dedication to public service and public land conservation, has been remarkable. John has been one of the most significant and important public land lawyers in modern times and Defenders is truly grateful for his lifelong efforts on behalf of imperiled species and wild spaces of this nation.”
Leshy is the first law professor to have won the award. “I’m deeply honored to receive this award from one of the nation's pre-eminent defenders of the environment, especially because its past recipients are among the nation’s most dedicated naturalist public servants. I've been fortunate to have had opportunities to help shape the law to protect our environment and manage our resources wisely.”
Founded in 1947, Defenders of Wildlife is a major national conservation organization focused solely on wildlife and habitat conservation and the safeguarding of biodiversity. The seventh annual Wildlife Conservation Awards Dinner celebrates and honors individuals with a lasting and exceptional commitment to wildlife conservation in the categories of legacy, public service, science, and citizen advocacy. Previous honorees for the lifetime achievement award include Dr. George B. Rabb (2012); Rodger Schlickeisen (2011); Rep. John D. Dingell (2010); Ted Turner (2009); Bruce Babbitt (2008); and Dr. Edward O. Wilson (2007).
John Leshy is the Harry D. Sunderland Distinguished Professor at the UC Hastings, where he teaches property law, constitutional law, Indian law and various natural resources courses. He has been a frequent visiting professor at Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1969, after earning an A.B. at Harvard College.