The Nature Conservancy to honor Dr. Joyce Lanning as first recipient of the Alabama Women of Conservation Award

Dr. Joyce Lanning, recipient of the first TNC Alabama Women in Conservation Award with TNC State Director Mitch Reid. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

 The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Alabama is honoring Dr. Joyce Lanning as its inaugural  Alabama Women of Conservation Award recipient.

“First award of this kind”

“We can think of no one better to receive our first award of this kind than Dr. Lanning,” said TNC Alabama State Director Mitch Reid. “Her longstanding commitment to raising awareness of and encouraging active participation in efforts to address climate change here and far beyond our state borders is commendable. Her impact will truly be felt for generations to come.” 

Tireless conservation leader

Dr. Joyce Lanning addressing an Energy Forum presented by the Alabama Environmental Council in 2015. (Alabama Environmental Council/Facebook)

A  tireless conservationist, volunteer environmental educator and consultant, Dr. Lanning served as assistant professor in the UAB Graduate School of Public Health and as assistant director for UAB Lister Hill Center for Health Policy. 

In 1998, she left UAB to serve as energy program consultant for the Alabama Environmental Council.  

She is an active member of Citizens Climate Lobby/Education and has served on the Climate Change Task Force for the League of Women Voters U.S.

In 2010, her family provided TNC with a land tract for conservation protection.

“I’m honored to be selected as the first recipient of this award as a proxy for all the women in Alabama who’re helping to pass on a world where people and nature can thrive,” said Dr. Lanning. “We’re the fourth most biodiverse state in the continental U.S. but have had nearly twice as many water and land species’ extinctions compared to the third most diverse state of California. We can and must do more to protect Alabama’s remarkable heritage and the prosperity of our state.”

Prestigious Selection Committee

Dr. Lanning was nominated and confirmed by the TNC Alabama Women in Conservation Award selection committee, which included: 

  • Renowned Alabama-based conservationist and environmental activist Cameron Vowell
  • Founder of the Crittenden Law Firm, Judith Crittenden,
  • Longtime Alabama Rivers Alliance executive director Cindy Lowry 

Sounding the Alarm

In a recent interview at the premiere of the Southern Exposure Film Series in Birmingham, Reid described Lanning’s efforts to bring attention to climate change. 

“She’s really most known for dedicating her life and words sounding the alarm, what we’re seeing with the changing climate. She’s trying to tell the story. Sometimes people don’t listen as much as they should, but I think she’s Alabama’s Paul Revere. Joyce is telling us that it is coming and more importantly she is bringing up the next generation of leaders and conservationists to take the baton to continue the work.”

When asked about additional words of wisdom about making a difference in conservation here Alabama, Lanning told Bham Now:  

“Pick your battles, seek out allies, build relationships, listen and learn and have some fun while you tackle what seem like insurmountable challenges. Remember we just have to do something, not everything!”

Award Ceremony

Lanning will receive the Alabama Women of Conservation Award  on Thursday, October 13, 7:30AM at Graham & Company Commercial Real Estate headquarters in downtown Birmingham.

Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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