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Women's History Month

Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories

Throughout 2023, DEC and the National Women's History Alliance are encouraging the recognition of women, past and present, who tell their story through all forms of media, including print, radio, television, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media. This timely theme honors women in every community who have devoted their lives and talents to producing art and news, pursuing truth, and reflecting on society throughout the years. For more information, visit the National Women's History Alliance website (leaves DEC's website).

New Yorkers have long been recognized as leading the way in the fight to secure equal rights, such as at the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, and New York women continue to play integral roles in the important issues that affect all of our lives.

anne labastille and her dog
Photo Courtesy: The Collection of Anne LaBastille

One such notable New Yorker was author, ecologist, and photographer Anne LaBastille (1933 - 2011). This prolific environmentalist wrote more than a dozen books, over 150 articles, and more than 25 scientific papers. She authored the popular Woodswoman series, a set of four memoirs spanning four decades of her life in the Adirondacks. The series inspired readers to seek adventure, solitude, and beauty in the backcountry. The first book was written at a time when the environmental and women's rights movements of the 1970s were converging and helped contribute to both by showing an appreciation of nature and independence.

LaBastille was a true trailblazer, breaking numerous barriers for women in the natural sciences. She received her bachelor and doctorate degrees in wildlife ecology from Cornell University, and a Master of Science in Wildlife Management from Colorado State University. When she entered Cornell's Natural Resources Program, she was the second woman ever enrolled and the first in wildlife ecology. Upon earning her PhD in 1969, she became Cornell's first female professor in the Department of Natural Resources. LaBastille was the first woman to conduct research at any federal Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit in the country and was the first woman to lead tours through the Florida Everglades. As a Commissioner of the Adirondack Park Agency starting in 1976, LaBastille served for 17 years, helping to balance environmental protection with the social and economic needs of Adirondack residents. She was honored by the World Wildlife Fund and the Explorers Club for her pioneering work in wildlife ecology and was also an accomplished wildlife photographer, with many photos appearing in nature publications.

Here at DEC, we take inspiration from Anne LaBastille and the many other women who make up our communications and outreach staff who help us share the stories of our conservation work. These staff and our many public and private partners help us each day by telling the story of our environmental work across the state so that we can continue to inspire the next generation of women conservation leaders.

Interested in learning more about the women who tell our stories? Find a list of environmental authors and their books, articles, and scientific papers (PDF).