Emmy award-winning documentaryfilmmaker Ken Burns received a Bennett recognition award as the 2017 recipient of the Lady Bird Johnson Environmental Award. The Lady Bird Johnson Environmental Award honors outstanding achievements in the preservation, restoration or improvement of the natural world that embrace Mrs. Johnson's style, energy and commitment to her work. Its mission is to increase public awareness of the environmental challenges facing our country by highlighting the work of selected individuals, corporations, and non-profit organizations.
Burns was honored with this prestigious award for reawakening a nation's consciousness to the natural world through his work, including The National Parks: America's Best Idea. As a direct result of the publicity and broadcast of this documentary, national parks across the country saw a dramatic increase in attendance. Burns has directed and produced some of the most influential, important, and popular historical documentaries of our time. His films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including 15 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations; and in September 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, he was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
For this award, Burns was presented with the Bennett recognition award In Our Hands, designed by acclaimed sculptor Terrie Bennett, who herself has a strong commitment to environmental causes, the influence of which can be seen in much of her work. This unique sculpture award design is based on two hands gently holding up a globe. The sculpture was cast in bronze, and featured a multi-color patina finish: the hands have a golden/brown patina, and the globe uses blue patina for the oceans and green patina for land. The sculpture was mounted on a black marble base with custom gold-fill engraving on the front and back of the base. This is the third straight year that the “In Our Hands” sculpture was selected for this award.
Burns received this recognition award during an event held Thursday, April 27, 2017, in the LBJ Auditorium at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.
The LBJ Foundation Board established the Lady Bird Johnson Environmental Award in 1992 in honor of Mrs. Johnson, whose vision for the environment has inspired the efforts of millions of Americans to preserve our natural resources and beautify our nation. Past recipients have included Ted Turner, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, U. S. Senator John Chafee, Laurance Rockefeller, Patrick Noonan, and Michael Dombeck.