Protect the Adirondacks was pleased to honor Elizabeth Thorndike and Peter S. Paine, Jr. with the Howard Zahniser Adirondack Award, the organization’s highest honor. Howard Zahniser was a towering figure in American conservation history who relentlessly campaigned for the National Wilderness Act, which he modeled in part on the forever wild clause in the New York State Constitution. This award in his name is the highest honor given by Protect the Adirondacks to recognize people who have made outstanding contributions to the environment and success of the Adirondack Park.

Recent honorees of the Howard Zahniser Adirondack Award include attorneys John Caffry and Claudia Braymer for their defense of Article 14, the forever wild clause in the State Constitution, The Wildlife Conservation Society Adirondack Program, former Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Board Member Richard Booth, the Nature Conservancy’s Heart of the Adirondacks Team, former APA Chair John Collins, and former APA Executive Director Bob Glennon.


Dr. Elizabeth Thorndike, holding the Howard Zahniser Adirondack Award, with Peter Bauer, Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks.

Elizabeth W. (“Liz”) Thorndike, Ph.D., of Rochester, was honored for her stalwart and successful work as a leader in protecting and defending the Forest Preserve, environment, and rural communities of the Adirondack Park. Liz Thorndike was the founder and President of the Center for Environmental Information. She served for over 15 years on the APA Board, where she chaired the Park Policy and Planning Committee. At the APA, Liz convened the Public Issues Forum for years, where the committee sought civility and mutual respect in discussions of major Adirondack issues. Liz served on Governor Mario Cuomo’s Environmental Advisory Board and the Board of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. She was on the Board of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, was a founder of the Adirondack Research Consortium and the Adirondack Park Institute.


Peter S. Paine, Jr., holding the Howard Zahniser Adirondack Award, with Protect the Adirondacks Chair Chuck Clusen on the left and Board member Bob Glennon on the right.

Peter S. Paine, Jr., of Willsboro, has worked for over 50 years to protect and defend the Forest Preserve, open spaces, and communities of the Adirondack Park. Peter has served the Adirondack Park in many exemplary ways, starting with his leadership on the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondack Park under Governor Nelson Rockefeller in the late 1960s, which recommended the creation of the Adi-rondack Park Agency. He helped author the APA Act and was the primary author of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, enduring models for regional and Wilderness environmental protection. For over 25 years, he served on the APA Board. Peter has worked to protect open spaces and wildlands in the Adirondacks through his work with The Nature Conservancy and Adirondack Land Trust. He has also volunteered with Fort Ticonderoga, the Lake Champlain Committee, and the Adirondack Foundation.