Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund Supports Modern Environmentalism

Environmental education, a now widely accepted strategy of the modern environmental movement, was once a new idea. Its origins trace partly to a series of grants totaling nearly one-million dollars given by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) to the National Audubon Society (NAS).

The grants, disbursed over the 1960s and 1970s, enabled NAS to launch its pioneering Nature Centers Division. The centers that the NAS opened across the United States helped to build public support for conservation, outdoor recreation, and ecological research. By funding the development of these centers, the RBF hoped to improve the nation’s environmental awareness.

In the end, the grant also played a key role in transforming Audubon into a more modern conservation organization, as the new education programs helped keep the nearly 100-year-old organization relevant in a changing environmental context.

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