The American Heritage Society Awards

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The February issue of A MERICAN H ERITAGE announced that the American Heritage Society would divide $50,000 in “seed money” awards among twelve local, nonprofit groups that are working to save some part of America’s endangered physical heritage.

The twelve were chosen with the counsel of our two sponsors, the American Association for State and Local History and the Society of American Historians, and a number of conservation experts. While any such selection is bound to be somewhat arbitrary, we tried to spread the locales and the nature of the projects broadly.

Then we asked here for postcard votes from our Society members and other readers. And we mailed ballots to a wide cross-section of others who we believed are interested in conservation. To make sure no one really lost, we promised a minimum award of $1,000 to each group. The votes were to determine which four organizations would receive the larger awards of $25,000, $10,000, $5,000, and $2,000. A total of 114,146 voters ranked the groups in this order:

  1. (1) Alaska Conservation Society, College, Alaska $25,000
  2. (2) Big Thicket Association, Liberty, Texas $10,000
  3. (3) Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference, New York, New York $5,000
  4. (4) Hells Canyon Preservation Council, Idaho Falls, Idaho $2,000
  5. (5) Laughing Brook Education Center, Hampden, Massachusetts $1,000
  6. (6) Delaware Valley Citizens’ Council for Clean Air, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania $1,000
  7. (7) Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Inc., Sanibel Island, Florida $1,000
  8. (8) Conservation Society of Southern Vermont, Bondville, Vermont $1,000
  9. (9) The Old Santa Fe Association, Santa Fe, New Mexico $1,000
  10. (10) South Hill Neighborhood Association, Lexington, Kentucky $1,000
  11. (11) Escalante Wilderness Committee, Salt Lake City, Utah $1,000
  12. (12) The Wyckoff Association in America, Brooklyn, New York $1,000

By sheer coincidence, A MERICAN H ERITAGE had already arranged, months before the balloting ended, to publish the long article on Alaska by Walter Sullivan that appears on pages 98-117. It is thus possible for interested readers to gain some insights into the problems facing that giant state and the winner of our major award, to whom we extend our congratulations.

To all who voted, our thanks for making the decisions for the Society. All the twelve groups tell us that even $1,000 is an encouraging windfall—enough to hire a lawyer, print a pamphlet, run an ad. In any event, the Society hopes the awards may provide some balm for our injured land and heritage.