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For Immediate Use                                                                                               Contact: Alison Sheehey, (760) 378-2531
September 15, 2008                                                                                                            

Outreach Director Receives Sierra Nevada Alliance Conservation Award

Tissiack Award Nominated by Peers for Environmental Excellence

Weldon, CA – The Sierra Nevada Alliance presented its Sierra Tissiack Award to Alison Sheehey, Outreach Director at Audubon Kern River Preserve over the weekend. The Tissiack Award goes to an individual leader who is most impressive in their actions and inspires admiration by other Sierra conservationists, who has preserved and succeeded in many campaigns and efforts, and continues to wear the bloom of youth with their passion and commitment to the Sierra. Each year, the Sierra Nevada Alliance presents outstanding individuals and organizations with awards to recognize their exemplary work within the Sierra. Sheehey received her award during the 2008 annual Sierra Nevada Alliance conference held in North Lake Tahoe.

Sheehey was thrilled to receive this award from among such a distinguished group of recipients. "There are so many people who have fought to protect the voiceless treasures of this planet, Sheehey said, I am thrilled to be chosen to receive such a thoughtful award with the likes of Martin Litton and Tom Knudson. The Sierra Nevada is the backbone of California and has had such strong advocacy dating back to Muir, but people must always fight to keep those with short-sighted vision from despoiling today's environment and tomorrow's legacy in favor of transient profits."

Tissiack gets its name from a Native American legend, a spirit named Tecoyo from Ahwahnee (Yosemite Valley) went to nearby Mono Lake to wed Tissiack. She agreed to return to with her new husband, and they crossed over the Sierra to Yosemite Valley. When they arrived, Tissiack told her husband she had made a mistake and wanted to return to her home. Infuriated her new husband refused to left her leave. Tissiack began running from her husband; but because they were both yelling loudly at each other in anger, the spirits of the valley annoyed with the disturbance turned them both into stone. For millennia Tissiack has kept vigil as Half Dome with the basket she carried turned into Basket Dome and with her husband nearby as North Dome.

Sheehey's passion for the environment was ignited early as a young child where she and her playmates invented a scavenger hunt game to pick up litter from their neighborhood. A resident of California since 1976, she moved to Kern County as a young mother in 1980 and unlike Tissiack found her new home fascinating and worth living in. Being introduced to the San Joaquin Valley for the first time, she was intrigued by the diverse geology and wildlife in the Westside of Kern County.

Sheehey counts her first independently identified life bird as a California Condor seen in the foothills near the town of Maricopa in early 1985 at a distance of only 20 feet. Having just joined the Audubon Society, she immediately began to seek out more information on this magnificent animal and the land that it called home. She began a long and fruitful affiliation with her peers in the environmental movement working to protect the land, water and air of central California from the coast to the desert inclusive of the southern Sierra Nevada. Under her nom de plume, Nature Ali, she is the author of the much acclaimed website, In addition to her catalog of extensive free educational information and photographs available via the website; Sheehey she has authored several brochures on local natural history and has had photographs published in local and national newspapers and magazines.

Sheehey was hired as Outreach Director for the Kern River Preserve in 2006 after volunteering for many years. Her focus here is on environmental education and public outreach.

About Audubon Kern River Preserve
The Kern River Preserve is managed by Audubon California for the preservation of one of California’s largest contiguous cottonwood-willow riparian forests and the wildlife it supports.
Audubon Kern River Preserve supporters provide financial and volunteer support for Preserve outreach, education, wildlife habitat protection & stewardship.


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