Special Guests & Honorees
Each year we rededicate ourselves to our mission by honoring some of our own outstanding real life, environmental super heroes. This year our Board of Directors chose to present three awards, honoring those who have demonstrated extraordinary environmental stewardship, helping to protect and preserve the natural balance and beauty of our land and actively put forth a significant effort in making the world a better place.
HRH PRINCE CHARLES - The Prince of Wales
Exemplar Award Recipient - Accepting by video
Accepting Award on behalf of HRH
The Prince of Wales, eldest son of The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born at Buckingham Palace at 9.14pm on 14th November 1948.
A proclamation was posted on the Palace railings just before midnight, announcing that Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth had been safely delivered of a son. It was announced later that the baby Prince weighed 7lb 6oz.
On 15th December, Charles Philip Arthur George was christened in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher.
The Prince’s mother was proclaimed Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 25, when her father, King George VI, died aged 56 on 6th February 1952. On The Queen’s accession to the throne, Prince Charles – as the Sovereign’s eldest son – became heir apparent at the age of three.
The Prince, as Heir to The Throne, took on the traditional titles of The Duke of Cornwall under a charter of King Edward III in 1337; and, in the Scottish peerage, of Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.
The Prince was four at his mother’s Coronation, in Westminster Abbey on 2nd June 1953. Many who watched the Coronation have vivid memories of him seated between his widowed grandmother, now to be known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and his aunt, Princess Margaret.
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh decided that The Prince should go to school rather than have a tutor at the Palace. The Prince started at Hill House school in West London on 7th November 1956.
After 10 months, the young Prince became a boarder at Cheam School, a preparatory school in Berkshire. In 1958 while The Prince was at Cheam, The Queen created him The Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. The Prince was nine-years-old.
In April 1962 The Prince began his first term at Gordonstoun, a school near Elgin in Eastern Scotland which The Duke of Edinburgh had attended.
The Prince of Wales spent two terms in 1966 as an exchange student at Timbertop, a remote outpost of the Geelong Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia.
When he returned to Gordonstoun for his final year, The Prince of Wales was appointed school guardian (head boy). The Prince, who had already passed six O Levels, also took A Levels and was awarded a grade B in history and a C in French, together with a distinction in an optional special history paper in July 1967.
The Prince went to Cambridge University in 1967 to read archaeology and anthropology at Trinity College. He changed to history for the second part of his degree, and in 1970 was awarded a 2:2 degree.
He was invested as Prince of Wales by The Queen on 1st July 1969 in a colourful ceremony at Caernarfon Castle. Before the investiture The Prince had spent a term at the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, learning to speak Welsh.
On 11th February 1970, His Royal Highness took his seat in the House of Lords.
On 8th March 1971 The Prince flew himself to Royal Air Force (RAF) Cranwell in Lincolnshire, to train as a jet pilot. At his own request, The Prince had received flying instruction from the RAF during his second year at Cambridge.
In September 1971 after the passing out parade at Cranwell, The Prince embarked on a naval career, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and both his great-grandfathers.
The six-week course at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, was followed by service on the guided missile destroyer HMS Norfolk and two frigates.
The Prince qualified as a helicopter pilot in 1974 before joining 845 Naval Air Squadron, which operated from the Commando carrier HMS Hermes. On 9th February 1976, The Prince took command of the coastal minehunter HMS Bronington for his last nine months in the Navy.
On 29th July 1981, The Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in St Paul’s Cathedral who became HRH The Princess of Wales.
The Princess was born on 1st July 1961, at Park House on The Queen’s estate at Sandringham, Norfolk. She lived there until the death in 1975 of her grandfather, the 7th Earl, when the family moved to the Spencer family seat at Althorp House in Northamptonshire.
Lady Diana’s father, then Viscount Althorp and later the eighth Earl Spencer, had been an equerry to both George VI and The Queen. Her maternal grandmother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy, was a close friend and lady in waiting to The Queen Mother.
The Prince and Princess of Wales had two sons: Prince William, born on 21st June 1982; and Prince Harry, born on 15th September 1984.
From the time of their marriage, The Prince and Princess of Wales went on overseas tours and carried out many engagements together in the UK.
On 9th December 1992, The Prime Minister, John Major, announced to the House of Commons that The Prince and Princess of Wales had agreed to separate.
The marriage was dissolved on 28th August, 1996. The Princess was still regarded as a member of the Royal Family. She continued to live at Kensington Palace and to carry out her public work for a number of charities.
When The Princess was killed in a car crash in Paris on 31st August 1997, The Prince of Wales flew to Paris with her two sisters to bring her body back to London. The Princess lay in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace until the night before the funeral.
On the day of the funeral, The Prince of Wales accompanied his two sons, aged 15 and 12 at the time, as they walked behind the coffin from The Mall to Westminster Abbey. With them were The Duke of Edinburgh and The Princess’s brother, Earl Spencer.
The Prince of Wales asked the media to respect his sons’ privacy, to allow them to lead a normal school life. In the following years, Princes William and Harry, who are second and fourth in line to the throne, accompanied their father on a limited number of official engagements in the UK and abroad.
On 9th April 2005, The Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker Bowles were married in a civil ceremony at the Guildhall, Windsor.
After the wedding, Mrs Parker Bowles became known as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were joined by around 800 guests at a Service of Prayer and Dedication at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
The Service was followed by a reception at Windsor Castle hosted by Her Majesty The Queen. It is intended that The Duchess of Cornwall should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne.
The Duchess supports The Prince of Wales in his work. Through the years, His Royal Highness developed a wide range of interests which are today reflected in The Prince’s Charities, a group of not-for-profit organisations of which The Prince of Wales is Patron or President.
The group is the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the United Kingdom, raising over £100million annually. The organisations are active across a broad range of areas including education and young people, environmental sustainability, the built environment, responsible business and enterprise and international.
The charities reflect The Prince of Wales’s long-term and innovative perspective, and seek to address areas of previously unmet need.
These interests are also reflected in the list of more than 400 organisations of which His Royal Highness is Patron or President.
The Prince’s interest in fields such as the built environment, global sustainability, youth opportunity, education and faith have been elaborated over many years in a large number of speeches and articles.
Accepting Award on behalf of HRH Prince Charles
Dr. Tony Juniper is an independent writer and sustainability and environment advisor, including as Special Advisor with the Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit, Fellow with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and as co-founder of sustainability consultancy group Robertsbridge.
He is President of the Wildlife Trusts, President of the Society for the Environment and a trustee of Fauna and Flora International and Resurgence-Ecologist and a Harmony Professor of Practice at the University of Wales Trinity St David. Juniper speaks and writes widely on environment, conservation and sustainability themes and is the author of many books, including the multi-award winning best-seller What has Nature ever done for us? published in 2013.
He began his career as an ornithologist, working with Birdlife International. From 1990 he worked at Friends of the Earth, initially leading the campaign for the tropical rainforests, and from 2003-2008 was the organisation’s executive director. From 2000-2008 was Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International.
Juniper was the first recipient of the Charles and Miriam Rothschild medal (2009) and was awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the Universities of Bristol and Plymouth (2013). His latest book, What is really happening to our planet?: the facts simply explained, was published in June 2016. www.tonyjuniper.com, twitter:@tonyjuniper.com
Exemplar Award Recipient
E.O. Wilson is generally recognized as one of the several leading biologists in the world. He is acknowledged as the creator of two scientific disciplines (island biogeography and sociobiology), three unifying concepts for science and the humanities jointly (biophilia, biodiversity studies, and consilience), and one major technological advance in the study of global biodiversity (the Encyclopedia of Life). Among more than one hundred awards he has received worldwide are the U. S. National Medal of Science, the Crafoord Prize (equivalent of the Nobel, for ecology) of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the International Prize of Biology of Japan; and in letters, two Pulitzer Prizes in non-fiction, the Nonino and Serono Prizes of Italy, and the COSMOS Prize of Japan. He is currently Honorary Curator in Entomology and University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University.
Superhero for Earth Award Recipient
Ian Somerhalder is an actor, environmentalist and humanitarian currently starring as Damon Salvatore in the eighth and final season of the CW hit television series THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. In addition to acting in the show, Somerhalder also took on the role as director in season 7 and will do so again for an episode in season 8.
This year Somerhalder was nominated two People’s Choice Awards for his work on the series for Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor and Favorite On Screen Chemistry. In 2013, he won the Teen Choice Award for Best TV Actor on behalf of his work on the show.
Somerhalder can also be seen this Fall in an episode of the ground-breaking and Emmy award winning climate change documentary series, YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY.
From 2004 to 2010, Somerhalder starred as Boone Carlylye in ABC’s Golden Globe and Emmy award winning drama, LOST which earned him a Teen Choice Award nomination for Choice TV Breakout Performance.
Somerhalder’s television credits include SMALLVILLE, YOUNG AMERICANS and TELL ME YOU LOVE ME.
His film credits include THE RULES OF ATTRACTION, THE TOURNAMENT and HOW TO MAKE LOVE TO A WOMAN.
Somerhalder is also the Founder/President of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) which was established in November 2010 after witnessing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the horrible aftermath of the Gulf Oil Spill just five years later. The purpose of the Foundation is to advance science; promote the conservation of natural resources for the benefit of the entire community; provide relief to the poor, distressed, and underprivileged; and support other organizations conducting activities under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
ISF empowers human action through programs and collaborations that promote education, innovation and build skills in empathy and effective leadership. ISF engages and supports youth through programs, partnerships, grants, media initiatives and campaigns; and provides support for organizational and grassroots efforts that protect and restore our planet.
Somerhalder was born and raised in Louisiana, and he currently splits his time between Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Young Superhero for Earth Award Recipient
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, (his first name pronounced ‘Shoe-Tez-Caht’) is a 16 year old indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist, and on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movement. At the early age of six, Xiuhtezcatl began speaking to crowds at conferences and demonstrations from the Rio+20 United Nations Summit in Rio de Janeiro to addressing the General Assembly at the United Nations New York. He is the Youth Director of Earth Guardians an organization of young activists, artists and musicians from across the globe stepping up as leaders and working together to create positive concrete action in their communities to address climate change. He also uses original eco hiphop music to educate and inspire his generation into action. He is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Obama administration for their failure to protect the atmosphere and their future. He has worked locally to get pesticides out of parks, coal ash contained and moratoriums on fracking in his state.
He has traveled across the nation and to many parts of the world educating his generation about the state of the planet they are inheriting and inspiring them into action to protect the Earth. His movement has grown to over 1,500 youth lead Earth Guardian crews globally working on the frontline to combat climate change. His work has been featured on PBS, Showtime, National Geographic, Rolling Stones, Upworthy, The Guardian, Vogue, CNN, MSNBC, HBO and many more.
In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President’s youth council.
He is the 2015 recipient of the Peace First Prize and the recipient 2015 Nickelodeon Halo Award. Bill Mckibben of 350.org calls Xiuhtezcatl “an impressive spokesman for a viewpoint the world needs to hear.”
Young Superhero for Earth Award Recipient
Hannah Testa is a 14 year old from Georgia who is passionate about animals and environmental issues that have an impact on wildlife. She believes that knowledge is power and that through education and awareness, she can affect positive change. She founded Hannah4Change to fight for issues that impact the planet and all of its animals.
From kindergarten she has utilized her leadership skills to teach and influence others, and has truly become a voice for those that do not have a voice, including rhinos, elephants, horses, bears, dolphins, and orcas. She has raised money and awareness for various animal causes because she feels all animals deserve a right to live peacefully on this planet. One of her most successful fundraisers was one of her first events. At the young age of 10 she was featured on CBS News for spearheading a large fundraiser for a horse rescue farm in Georgia.
Hannah has presented to thousands of adults and children – as well as the Georgia Governor – on plastic pollution and practical ways residents can reduce their “plastic footprint”. In 2016, Hannah partnered with her state senator to proclaim February 15, 2017 as Plastic Pollution Awareness Day throughout the state of Georgia. This event was conceived and spearheaded by Ms. Testa to help educate Georgians about the growing crisis. Her goal is to make citizens and businesses aware that simple changes can greatly reduce our plastic footprint. Hannah’s call to action is for Georgian’s to avoid consumption of single-use plastic products such as plastic bottles, straws, and bags on at least one day out of the year. Hannah has gotten dozens of environmental leaders across the nation to support her efforts at the State Capitol.
Hannah has received numerous honors and awards, including the President’s Volunteer Service Award, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, and the Pioneer of Sustainability Award by Ted’s Montana Grill. She has been named Co-President of Animal Hero Kids since 2015 as well as Ambassador for 5 Gyres Institute and Plastic Pollution Coalition. In early 2016, the Georgia House and Senate both passed resolutions to recognize Hannah for her volunteer work.
Hannah’s plastic pollution advocacy efforts are the latest in her young career to speak up for issues that concern her, and others have taken note of her incredible work. “Hannah is a light of hope and is a true example to never underestimate a young person’s capability to evoke change. Its been a pleasure to watch her blossom and grow in passion and beauty inside and out”, states Angela Sun, award-winning sportscaster, film maker, producer, writer, and environmentalist.
Master of Ceremonies
Jesse Itzler only eats fruit until noon, loves Run-D.M.C., and enjoys living life “out of the box,” actually, he doesn’t even have a box. He cofounded Marquis Jet, the world’s largest prepaid private jet card company in 2001, which he and his partner sold to Berkshire Hathaway/NetJets. He then partnered with Zico coconut water, which they sold to The Coca-Cola Company in 2013. He is a former rapper on MTV and he produced and sang both the NBA’s Emmy Award-winning “I Love This Game” music campaign and the popular New York Knicks anthem “Go NY Go.” Itzler is also the author of the best selling book “Living With A SEAL“. When he is not out training for his next 100 mile run or being a dad to his four kids, Jesse can be found at the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks games, where he is an owner of the team. He is married to Spanx founder Sara Blakely and the couple and their 4 children live in Atlanta, Georgia.