A prominent law professor, an internationally renowned conservationist and an acclaimed author and naturalist. The trio of honorees at this Saturday's SoFo Goes Silver gala represents "the best of the best in their fields," according to Andy Sabin, president of the South Fork Natural History Museum. Having the three best -- Michael Gerrard, Eric Goode, and Peter Matthiessen (posthumously) -- is "a real tribute to the museum," Sabin summarized.
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A wilderness writer and part of the East End literary scene Matthiessen became a household word around these parts with the release of Men's Lives in the 1980s. The book, one of 30 the author published, chronicled the vanishing way of life of Long Island fishermen.
Matthiessen died earlier this year at the age of 86. In an obituary published in the New York Times, he was described as "our greatest modern nature writer in the lyrical tradition" by paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. His son Alex will accept the honor on Matthiessen's behalf on Saturday.
Goode will be recognized for conservation efforts that include founding the Turtle Conservancy and its captive breeding center, the Behler Chelonian Center in California.
Decades of unwavering interest in tortoises and turtles have left him with a wealth of first hand knowledge of the species both in captivity and in the field.
Goode's travelled to over 40 countries across the globe in furtherance of conservation initiatives, filming the work and producing a series of documentaries about his experiences in the field. With two thirds of the world's tortoises and turtles facing extinction, he's made it his personal mission to prevent their loss.
"I'm very honored," he said this week. Publicity is "not my milieu," Goode added, "It's very sweet of them to honor me." Speaking of SoFo, he added, "I love anything or anybody that encourages young people to find the love of nature. I think it's great!"
Gerrard was of similar sentiment. "It's gratifying to be recognized by such an important organization. SoFo plays such an important role in environmental education, I'm quite humbled by being a recipient."
When it comes to environmental education Gerrard plays a role of his own. He teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law and energy law at Columbia Law School and is director of the school's Center for Climate Change.
Professor, attorney, author and lecturer, Gerrard has held myriad prestigious positions, such as chair of the American Bar Association's 10,000-member Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. He's been ranked not just one of the leading environmental lawyers in New York, but in the world, by several independent ranking agencies. He's lectured on environmental law in countries around the globe.
"Peter Matthiessen, Michael Gerrard and Eric Goode have been chosen as the 2014 SoFo Goes Silver honorees for their efforts and commitment to conserving and protecting our planet," SoFo's executive director Frank Quevedo said this week.
"Their work is relative to the mission of the South Fork Natural History Museum and we are proud to honor them as we celebrate 25 years as a nature education organization."
Boasting three chairpersons -- environmentalist Susan Rockefeller, "Paddle Diva" Gina Bradley and artist April Gornik -- SoFo Goes Silver will begin outdoors, giving attendees the chance to marvel at the museum's lush natural surroundings. Open bars and light bites will be offered, as will a silent auction. Adam Alpert's 4AM DJs will pack the dance floor with one of their top DJ's inside the party tent.
The event will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. For tickets call SoFo at 631-537-9735.
The Independent is the lead media sponsor of SoFo Goes Silver.