November 4, 2023 — The Board of Director’s of the Connecticut Audubon Society honored George Amata with its annual Dave Engelman Volunteer Benchmark Award, at the organizations annual meeting today in Fairfield.
George chairs the Milford Point Coastal Center’s regional board, and is a member of Connecticut Audubon’s Board of Directors.
Pamela Fraser, Ph.D., presented the award, which the Board gives annually to one or more people whose volunteer activity has significantly enhanced the organization’s mission.
The award is named in memory of the late Dave Engelman, a member of the Board of Directors, who epitomized the characteristics of an extraordinary volunteer by helping Connecticut Audubon grow both in spirit and as an organization.
George’s friend and fellow board member, Gilles Carter, wrote the following appreciation of George’s work, his dedication, his temperament, and his personality.
George Amato’s beaming smile and his readiness to answer virtually any question about birds and the natural world are well-known to visitors to the Coastal Center at Milford Point. For anyone who wants to know which birds have been seen near the Coastal Center building, on the sandbar, or in the Wheeler Marsh, there has been no more reliable or conscientious source. He is legendary at the Coastal Center for having visited every day for a year and then filing eBird reports for every visit: 365 days in a row.
That kind of steadfastness is not an accident. George is director emeritus of genomics for the American Museum of Natural History, and was formerly director of conservation and science at the Wildlife Conservation Society. His research was literally globe-spanning.
A longtime Milford resident, George serves as chair of the Coastal Center Regional Board and as a member of Connecticut Audubon’s state Board. He is a leader in our work to transform the newly-acquired Stratford Point preserve into a center for conservation research. He has worked diligently on Connecticut Audubon’s efforts towards greater diversity. His board-building and fundraising abilities have helped secure the Coastal Center’s finances. His steady observations and recommendations have helped improve buildings and grounds.
All of which is not to overlook his willingness to roll up his sleeves and pull on work gloves. No one has worked harder, though often quietly, to help protect the important nesting grounds on site. He is part of a team that prepares, cleans, and monitors the Coastal Center’s thriving Purple Martin colony. When debris or trash needs to be picked up from the beach or marsh grasses, George is there to help.
The Connecticut Audubon Society has been a grateful beneficiary of this remarkably knowledgeable and cheerful conservation advocate. As every state board member, Coastal Center board member, and staff member will aver, George is a relentlessly hard-working ambassador for Connecticut Audubon and for conservation. His devotion is unparalleled. For this, we thank him. — Gilles Carter
Gilles Carter serves as a member of the executive committee of Connecticut Audubon’s Board of Directors and is a member of the Coastal Center regional board.
Here are the previous winners or the award:
|Recipients of the Dave Engelman Volunteer Benchmark Award|
|1993:||Paul van der Stricht|
|1996:||W. Bradley Morehouse|
|1997:||Ann G. Wasmer|
|2001:||Marilyn Duda (Connecticut Audubon Society staff)|
|2005:||George C. Cartwright|
|2006:||Mrs. Lucie Warren|
|Milan Bull (Connecticut Audubon Society staff)|
|2007:||Peter and Carleen Kunkel|
|Judy Harper (Connecticut Audubon Society staff)|
|2009:||Wendell & Alison Davis|
|Judith F. Richardson|
|2011||Ross and Barbara Strickland|
|2013||Philip W. Stein|
|James G. Denham|
Diana Atwood Johnson
Walter “Sandy” Sanstrom
|2017||Louise Crocco (Connecticut Audubon Society staff)|
|Read about the 2018 winners here.|
|2019||Charles N. Watson|
|Read about the 2019 winners here.|
|2020||Eleanor Perkins Robinson|
|Read about the 2020 winners here.|
|Read about the 2021 winners here.|
|2022||Jeanne C. Olivier|
|Read aboout the 2022 winner here.|
|2023||George A. Amato|