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Alumnae Environmentalists Win Heinz Awards


From left: Nancy Knowlton and Sandra Steingraber

From left: Nancy Knowlton and Sandra Steingraber

Photographs courtesy of the Heinz Family Foundation

The Heinz Family Foundation today conferred Heinz Awards on 10 people for work determined to benefit the environment. (The awards, established by Teresa Heinz in 1993, honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, M.B.A. ’63, by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of individuals in the areas of greatest importance to him.) Among the winners of the unrestricted $100,000 prizes are Nancy Knowlton ’71, Sant chair for marine science at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, recognized for her lifelong work on the ecology, evolution, and conservation of coral reefs, and Sandra Steingraber, a 1994 Radcliffe Fellow who writes about the connection between toxic chemicals and disease.

Knowlton was cited for establishing the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and chairing a panel for the World Bank’s Coral Reef Targeted Research Program. She is the author of a recent popular book, Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures from the Census of Marine Life. (Read her Smithsonian biography.)

(To learn more about threats to the world’s coral reefs from changing climate and ocean conditions, see “Reefs at Risk” from our archives, by photographer David Arnold ’71—coincidentally, Knowlton’s classmate—and managing editor Jonathan Shaw.)

Steingraber, a scholar in residence at Ithaca College, is the author of Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood, reviewed in the Radcliffe Quarterly, and other books, including Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis. The Heinz announcement cited her career of “finding links between toxic chemicals and diseases, as well as urging government to protect its citizens.”

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