Contact: Beth Young
SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR HONORED
"His belief in a balanced approach to resource protection and development of those resources is very akin to that of our profession," said Angela Dye, ASLA, trustee for the Arizona Chapter of ASLA. "Secretary Babbitt believes in working with the local communities and local environmental groups to accomplish sustainable stewardship for the long-term benefit of both people and the environment."
During his tenure at the Department of Interior, Babbitt initiated a new direction in the conservation of America's public lands - the development of large scale, consensus-based environmental restoration projects. Under his guidance, the Department fostered the designation of more than 20 national monuments and provided a greater role for the Bureau of Land Management in stewardship of public lands. In the Pacific Northwest, the Department played a lead role in reshaping the President's Forest Plan, a comprehensive multi-species regional plan that protects millions of acres of old growth forest while providing for a sustainable level of timber forest harvest. In California, the Department led in developing the historic Bay Delta accord, ending 30 years of water wars and providing for fish and wildlife restoration, while also leading efforts to enact the California Desert Protection Act, the largest land protection bill ever enacted for the lower 48 states.
In preserving the American heritage - from the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor all the way to the wilderness of Alaska - Babbitt said he was guided by the "standard of sustainability," continually asking, "How will this decision affect the beauty, integrity, and availability of [the given] resources for our children?" Moreover, he has sought to guarantee that decisions have been made "under the floodlight of good science."
President Clinton appointed Babbitt as Secretary of the Interior in 1993. Previously Babbitt served as governor of Arizona from 1978-1987, and attorney general of Arizona, 1975-1978. After leaving public office in 1987, Babbitt became a partner in the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, where his practice focused on natural resources, water law and environmental regulation. He also served as national president of the League of Conservation Voters, a non-profit organization that advocates environmental legislation and rates the environmental record of members of the U.S. Congress. He graduated from Notre Dame with a B.A. in Geology, took an M.S. in Geophysics from University of Newcastle, England, and earned an L.L.B. from Harvard Law School. In 1995 Babbitt was honored by ASLA with the Olmsted Medal, recognizing his long career in environmental stewardship.
Babbitt's award was one of two LaGasse Medals given this year, the other going to John O. Bell, ASLA, of St. Louis, in the landscape architect category. The LaGasse Medals are named for Alfred B. LaGasse, who served as executive director of the American Institute of Park Executives, executive vice president of the National Recreation and Parks Association and executive director of ASLA and the Landscape Architecture Foundation. Throughout his life, LaGasse was dedicated to the proper management of the nation's public lands and judicious use of the country's natural resources.
Babbitt will be presented with the LaGasse Medal in a ceremony at the ASLA Annual Meeting in Montreal, Sept. 21-25.
Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the national professional association representing 13,500 members nationwide. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation. ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication and fellowship. For more information, visit ASLA Online at www.asla.org.
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