Taylor Inducted into Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame

The Nature Conservancy’s State Director for Michigan Honored by Peers

Grand Rapids, Michigan | May 10, 2018

Environmental leaders from around the state gathered last night to induct a new slate of honorees into the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame, including Helen Taylor, Michigan state director for The Nature Conservancy.

Taylor joins a long and distinctive list of people who have given their time, commitment and passion to supporting the environment in Michigan. The Hall was established in 2010 by the Muskegon Environmental Research and Education Society and has honored leaders such as philanthropist Peter Wege, author Dave Dempsey and public officials, including former Governor Bill Milliken and Congressman John Dingell. 

“I’m deeply moved, humbled and honored to accept this induction,” Taylor said. “I stand on the shoulders of environmental giants who have cared for Michigan for generations. To be among their peers is truly rewarding and extremely gratifying. And, to be truthful, I didn’t do any of this work alone; it is a shared honor with my colleagues at The Nature Conservancy and the many partners I have collaborated with over the years.”

Tom Cook, executive director of the Cook Family Foundation and a long-time member of TNC’s Michigan Board of Trustees as well as chair of TNC’s global Trustee Council, says the award announcement is well-deserved and long overdue.

“Helen is an extraordinary person who lives and breathes her passion for the environment,” Cook said. “She has been quietly and not-so-quietly behind some of the biggest land deals and conservation achievements in Michigan. We will all reap the benefits of her hard work for generations to come.”

Cook cited several success stories under Taylor’s leadership, as she has served as TNC’s state director in Michigan since 1999. She was instrumental in the largest land acquisition in the State of Michigan’s history, the Northern Great Lakes Forest Project (a.k.a. “Big U.P. Deal”) that protected more than 271,000 acres through purchases and easements. Taylor also assisted in the protection of Lake Michigan dunes and shoreline at Saugatuck that expanded Oval Beach and most recently helped TNC acquire four miles of Lake Huron shoreline on the North Point Peninsula near Alpena. In addition to land deals, she has overseen the growth of the Conservancy’s programming across the Great Lakes to encompass basin-wide conservation strategies in forestry, coasts, agriculture and fisheries.

“We are extremely fortunate that Helen Taylor chose to dedicate her life’s work to the environment in Michigan,” Cook said. “How appropriate that Helen gets this recognition, as she has always been one to eschew recognition and share the credit for her conservation successes.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Melissa Molenda
The Nature Conservancy
(517) 230-0818


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