Grantee Weekly Grind: Grand Canyon Trust Employee Honored With Conservation Leadership Award


In 2010, the Conservation Alliance awarded the Grand Canyon Trust a grant to protect one million acres around the Grand Canyon from uranium exploration and mining through legislation or by securing a 20-year mineral withdrawal from the Interior Department. Congratulations to Grand Canyon Trust employee Dr. Mary O'Brien for receiving the Wilburforce Foundation Conservation Leadership Award!


From the Grand Canyon Trust

The Wilburforce Foundation has honored Grand Canyon Trust employee Dr. Mary O’Brien with its Conservation Leadership Award. A statement issued by the Foundation said: “Dr. O’Brien embodies what we look for in Conservation Leaders: a deep and abiding commitment to protection of functional ecosystems, (even the ones that are more subtle in their beauty like grasslands), adherence to science and democratic processes, and an unwaveringly wonderful sense of humor. She truly takes her work seriously and her self lightly. “

Mary currently works with a coalition of organizations that is proposing alternatives for the forest plans, livestock grazing EISs, and travel/off-road-vehicle plans for the three southern Utah national forests: Dixie, Fishlake, and Manti-La Sal. Her current focus is on changing the sheep and cattle grazing practices, and establishing reference areas on the three forests. Mary has worked as a staff scientist and organizer for the past thirty-five years with toxics and conservation organizations, including Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Environmental Research Foundation, Science and Environmental Health Network, and Hells Canyon Preservation Council. O’Brien taught (1992-1994) as Assistant Professor in the graduate University of Montana Environmental Studies Program…

She is particularly interested in working for the retention and restoration of native grasslands and riparian areas, increasing public and rancher consciousness of and affection for grassland and riparian communities, and learning and conveying the ecological differences between those grasslands and riparian areas that are grazed by livestock and those that have not been grazed by livestock for a number of years.


photo by James Marvin Phelps