You are here: Home / Events & News / Alliance News / Bay Area Community Conservationist Audrey Rust Receives National Conservation Award

Bay Area Community Conservationist Audrey Rust Receives National Conservation Award

October 26, 2011 | Land Trust Alliance | Washington, D.C.
 Bay Area Community Conservationist Audrey Rust Receives National Conservation Award

Audrey Rust accepting her award at Rally 2011.


Contact: Rob Aldrich
Director of Communications
202-638-4725 |
Photos available; email


Advocate For Community Collaboration and Investment


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Audrey C. Rust, president emeritus of the Peninsula Open Space Trust based in Palo Alto, Calif., was announced as the winner of the Land Trust Alliance’s prestigious Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award. Rust was selected for the award for her vision and dedication that have resulted in extraordinary results for land conservation and for the land trust community. Rust has raised more than 325 million dollars – grew her staff seven fold while helping to protect more than 53,000 acres, and her fundraising is unparalleled with a 33.5 million dollar campaign and a 200 million dollar campaign to her credit.

Rust is the sixth recipient of this honor awarded by the Land Trust Alliance to recognize outstanding leadership, innovation and creativity in land conservation.  

Rust was also named to serve in the Kingsbury Browne Fellowship at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy for 2011.  In her role in this fellowship, named after Boston attorney Kingsbury Browne (1922-2005), Rust will engage in researching, writing and mentoring associated with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a Cambridge-based think-tank with a focus on land policy. Both awards were presented in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the Land Trust Alliance’s Rally 2011: The National Land Conservation Conference, the largest annual gathering of professional and volunteer conservation leaders in the US.

In her acceptance remarks, Rust said: "I believe the work that we do is of the utmost importance. I used to feel that if I got one wish, I’d wish for world peace. Probably everyone thinks that. But today I don’t think that any longer. Today I think that if I could have only one wish, instead I would wish for an end to global warming, and for a way to protect our biodiversity. It’s the most important thing that can happen for our planet, our people, and ourselves.  I am so proud to be a part of the land trust community – it is this group of people making my wish come true.”

When presenting the award, David Anderson, Land Trust Alliance chairman of the board, said: “Audrey’s passionate dedication of 24 years protecting the San Francisco peninsula including San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties has created an absolutely incredible legacy of open space for generations. Her unwavering mentorship and leadership on the California Council of Land Trusts, as well as a number of other boards, highlights her volunteerism and commitment to others, which has enabled an amazing achievement of conservation.”

Wentworth added, “Her sense of humor keeps all of us remembering not to take ourselves so seriously that we forget to love life – and find the joy in what we do each day – she is an amazing leader."

Under Rust's leadership, the Peninsula Open Space Trust partnered with public agencies and private landowners to protect more than 53,000 acres of open space lands in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. The achievements ranged from Cowell Ranch, 1,200 acres of coastal bluff and agricultural soils just south of the city of Half Moon Bay, Calif.; 20,000 acres on the San Mateo Coast; and 1,623-acre Bair Island, one of the South Bay’s largest restorable wetlands, now part of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The Saving the Endangered Coast campaign is the largest land protection initiative ever completed by any local U.S. land trust. Launched in 2001 with two $50 million gifts from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the campaign protected spectacular open lands, including 4,262-acre Rancho Corral de Tierra, near Montara, Calif., now slated to transfer to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Before coming to POST, Ms. Rust served as the director of development and membership for the national Sierra Club; directed west coast capital giving programs for Yale University; and served in various development capacities for Stanford University and Vassar College.  She graduated from the University of Connecticut at Storrs with a B.A. in English and education.  

Ms. Rust has served on the boards of numerous local, state and national organizations, primarily in the conservation and housing arena. She has received the Times Mirror-Chevron National Conservationist of the Year Award; the League of California Voters Environmental Leadership Award; the Garden Club of America’s top environmental honor, the Cynthia Pratt Laughlin Medal; the Jacqueline Kennedy Award from JFK University for her achievements in land conservation; and the 2010 ATHENA Award from the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce for demonstrating excellence and creativity in business, contributing to the quality of life in her community, and helping other women to realize their leadership potential.

Residing in Menlo Park, Calif., Rust is an avid gardener, knitter and painter, and takes every opportunity she can to hike on lands she helped protect.

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy began the Kingsbury Browne Fellowship in association with the Land Trust Alliance offering its first Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award in 2006. Winners are chosen from a group of their peers, honoring lifetime contributions to the field of land conservation and work reflecting the values that Kingsbury Browne brought to his own seminal achievements. The fellowship has previously been awarded to Jay Espy, executive director of the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation; Jamie Williams, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Northern Rockies Initiative; Laurie A. Wayburn, co-founder of the Pacific Forest Trust; Mark Ackelson, president of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation; and Darby Bradley, president of the Vermont Land Trust. In the fellowship, Rust will engage in researching, writing and mentoring.

Armando Carbonell, senior fellow and chairman of the Department of Planning and Urban Form at the Lincoln Institute, said he looked forward to having Audrey Rust serve as the Kingsbury Browne Fellow, as her expertise can enhance many ongoing initiatives in regional collaboration and fundraising.

About The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is a leading resource for key issues concerning the use, regulation, and taxation of land. Providing high quality education and research, the Institute strives to improve public dialogue and decisions about land policy. As a private operating foundation, whose origins date to 1946, we seek to inform decision-making through education, research, policy evaluation, demonstration projects, and the dissemination of information, policy analysis, and data through publications, our Web site, and other media. By bringing together scholars, practitioners, public officials, policymakers, journalists and involved citizens, the Lincoln Institute integrates theory and practice and provides a nonpartisan forum for multidisciplinary perspectives on public policy concerning land, both in the U.S. and internationally. Visit

About The Land Trust Alliance

The Alliance is a national conservation organization that works in three ways to save the places people love.  First, we increase the pace of conservation, so more land and natural resources get protected.  Second, we enhance the quality of conservation, so the most important lands get protected using the best practices in the business. And third, we ensure the permanence of conservation by creating the laws and resources needed to defend protected land over time. The Land Trust Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and has several regional offices.


Document Actions
Bookmark and Share
Filed under: ,

1660 L St. NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036 ©Copyright 2015 Land Trust Alliance

Privacy Policy | Photo Credits | Site Map | Contact Us