Conservation Award

The Delaware Audubon Conservation Award
2000 - Lynn Williams

PLEASE NOTE: This is an archive article from 2000. Although it was accurate at the time it was written, it may now be out of date.

PHOTO: Lynn WilliamsThe recipient of the 2000 Delaware Audubon Conservation Award, Lynn Williams, has a tremendous enthusiasm for accepting challenges. As a child, her family chose to leave the comforts of city living and spend summers in a log cabin in the Berkshires experiencing the rewards and demands of nature. Her introduction to the natural world began there where she learned to identify birds, wildflowers and trees. Lynn can still recall "sleeping out under hemlocks with lady slippers beside me."

Lynn wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and be an engineer. "I enjoyed the hard sciences. I would have been an engineer, but they didn’t have it at Mt. Holyoke College; I majored in geology instead."

Lynn and her husband, Richmond, moved to Wilmington in 1961. She soon became involved in a Junior League Project which led to the creation of the Delaware Nature Society (then the Delaware Nature Education Society). She was a founding board member of the Society and served as its first president from 1964 to 1973.

While president of the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council, Lynn influenced the use of Grove Point Program Center for environmental interpretation, instilling a deeper appreciation of bay ecology in present and future Girl Scouts.

As a member of the Governor’s Task Force on the Future of the Brandywine and Christina Rivers, she helped develop a cohesive plan for water quality improvement. She has also served as a board member of the Delaware Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board, a board member of the Red Clay Valley Association, a committee member for the Brandywine Conservancy, and advisor to Costa Rica National Parks.

As chairperson of the Delaware Open Space Council, she has overseen the expenditure of $110 million for purchase of natural areas and critical open space. She is a member of the Delaware Natural Areas Advisory Council and the Parks and Recreation Council. Lynn is currently serving on the boards of Delaware Wildlands and the Christina Conservancy and is chairing a committee for the Riverfront Development Corporation to establish the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge. Lynn joined the Woodlawn Trustees, Inc. Board in 1972 and has served as president since 1988.

Many people have influenced Lynn. She says, "I carry their riches with me – all their good things. They put the challenges there for me to do, and I am a doer."

Edward ‘Ned’ Cooch, an early environmental associate and president of the Christina Conservancy says, "Lynn Williams' dedication to the conservation of natural resources in Delaware is virtually without equal."

Norm Wilder, former Executive Director of the Delaware Nature Society, says, "Lynn had a vision about what it takes to have good natural surroundings. Most importantly, she inspired others to act."

Norm’s successor, Mike Riska, was also impressed. "I don't know of any other volunteer that has contributed more to the conservation of Delaware's natural resources than Lynn Williams. Her wisdom, patience and energy are an inspiration to all who know and work with her."

Howard Brokaw succeeded Lynn as president of the Delaware Nature Society. "For 33 years I've seen her leadership on a multitude of successful conservation actions."

Russ Peterson, former governor of Delaware and former president of National Audubon Society says, "Lynn Williams is one of Delaware’s most outstanding environmental leaders."

Many challenges remain for Lynn. She says, "After all these years in working for environmental education and conservation, and preservation, I am still excited by the challenge they present. There is still more to be done."