What do street art prodigy Boy Kong, The Office’s Kate Flannery, and the founders of a leading geographic information systems software all have in common? They all came out for The National Audubon Society’s annual gala last month at the Plaza Hotel and helped raise over $1.2 million for the organization's work protecting endangered bird species. The event was a who’s who of environmental leaders, and was attended by over 350 supporters. Inhabitat was on the scene as some of the nation's top conservationists were honored for their outstanding achievements and commitment to the environment.
Kate Flannery, who you might know as Meredith Palmer from The Office, acted as master of ceremonies for the event, while Boy Kong worked on a live art piece throughout the cocktail reception. Jack and Laura Dangermond were presented with the prestigious Audubon Medal for their achievements in the field of technology and conservation innovation, as well as their support for research institutions, non-profits, and schools. They are the founders of Esri, the Environmental Systems Research Institute, a leading institute in mapping and data. This award has a distinct alumni list, having been previously awarded to Rachel Carson, Robert Redford, and the Rockefeller family. The third annual $100,000 Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership was awarded to Spencer Beebe, the founder of Ecotrust, for his work in integrated solutions that build ecological and economic value. The Lufkin Prize is awarded to individuals who have dedicated their lives to on-the-ground conservation.
Boy Kong’s painting of a wood duck was later sold during the event’s silent auction for $9,500. Kong also completed a mural in Harlem as part of The Audubon Mural Project. Through this project, implemented in 2014, The Audubon Society aims to bring increased awareness to the threats birds face and the Society’s mission.