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Frances Beinecke, president of the National Resources Defense Council and long-time Long Lake resident, accepts the Adirondack Museum's 2014 Harold K. Hochschild Award. (Photo/Pete Klein)

Richard and Hillary Dechene of Long Lake were among the 225 guests at the Adirondack Museum’s Wilderness Elegance Benefit Gala Saturday evening, July 26. (Photo/Pete Klein)

Adirondack Museum Master Carpenter Scott Chartier of Tupper Lake handcrafts the Harold K. Hochschild Award, given annually by the Adirondack Museum. It is inspired by the uniquely local "Adirondack rustic" style that began in the region, has spread worldwide, and is showcased in the museum's exhibitions and programs. (Photo submitted)


Frances Beinecke wins Hochschild award

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - Updated: 4:09 PM

BLUE MT. LAKE -- The Adirondack Museum presented the 2014 Harold K. Hochschild Award to Frances Beinecke during its Wilderness Elegance Benefit Gala Saturday, July 26.

It was a perfect night for an outdoor party for over 225 guests. The evening began with mingling while sampling hors d’oeuvres and drinks and listening to  music  by a band from the Long Lake Camp for the Arts.

The Harold K. Hochschild Award is dedicated to the memory of the museum's founder, whose passion for the Adirondacks, its people, and environment inspired the creation of the Adirondack Museum and the establishment of the Adirondack Park Agency.

The museum has presented the award since 1990 to recipients in a wide range of fields throughout the Adirondack Park, honoring their work to improve the area's culture and quality of life.

"On behalf of the Adirondack Museum, I congratulate Frances Beinecke on receiving this prestigious honor in recognition of her work in the Adirondacks, and around the world, to find solutions for our environmental challenges," said David M. Kahn, executive director of the Adirondack Museum.

Beinecke is president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental action group where she has worked for more than 30 years.

"Frances Beinecke is to American environmentalists as Mt. Marcy is to the High Peaks: There are a lot of beautiful high mountains among the 46, but none stands quite as tall against the sky," says Bill McKibben, author, environmentalist, and founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement.

Accepting the award, Beinecke gave tribute to Hochschild and recalled an early meeting with him at his camp on Eagle Lake.

She said, “He understood the human roots of the Adirondacks and the people who live and work here. He told me the Adirondack Museum came out from his writing ‘Township Forty.’ After signing a copy for me, he said it weighed about seven pounds and if I ever needed to, I could burn it on a cold night to keep warm. It will burn slow, he said.”

In addition to the award, Beinecke was given another copy of “Township 40,” just in case she had burned the copy Hochschild had given to her back in the 1970s.


Her Adirondack connections include a long-time family camp on Long Lake; serving as chair of The Adirondack Council not long after its founding in 1975; chairing the state-wide environmental bond act campaign in 1986, which provided significant funds for Adirondack Forest Preserve and easement acquisition; chairing the Governing Council of The Wilderness Society, which has strong roots and connections in the Adirondacks; and continual enthusiasm for Adirondack canoeing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

"Frances Beinecke is an environmental giant who has had an impact around the world," says Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, a grassroots, volunteer-driven environmental organization in the Adirondack Park.


Through the Hochschild Award the museum seeks to recognize, strengthen, and support intellectual and community leaders throughout the Adirondack Park and to highlight their contribution to the region's culture and quality of life. It also hopes to facilitate a dialogue encouraging others to appreciate that the region's leadership comes in many forms and from many different communities.

The Adirondack Museum, accredited by the American Association of Museums, shares the history and culture of the Adirondack region. For additional information call (518) 352-7311 or visit


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