> Contact: Kristy Wright > 212/979-3027 > kwright@xxxxxxxxxxx > > NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY ESTABLISHES THE KALPANA CHAWLA FUND FOR > ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP > > Columbia Astronaut Planned to > '> Take Care of This Fragile Planet> '> > Upon Her Return - Her Will Establishes Fund with a $300,000 Donation > > New York, NY, October 29, 2003 -- Her feet may have been planted firmly on > the soil of her hometown of Karnal, India, but Dr. Kalpana Chawla's eyes were > on the sky from an early age. The future astronaut became fascinated with > flight through observing the birds around her home and watching planes at her > town's local flying club. She could not have known that in her future, her > view of the sky would change dramatically -- she would look down onto Earth > from high above the blue skies she admired in her youth and continue to > marvel. > > "> Just looking at Earth, looking at the stars during the night part of > Earth; just looking at our planet roll by and the speed at which it goes by > and the awe that it inspires; just so many such good thoughts come to your > mind when you see all that,> "> she said in an ABC News interview. > "> > Doing it again is like living a dream - a good dream - once again.> "> > > Dr. Chawla's dream of space flight was realized in 1996 when she became the > first Indian-American to fly with a United States shuttle crew. Tragically, > as the nation and her family watched helplessly, Chawla and her six crewmates > perished on February 1, 2003, over Texas as Columbia was re-entering Earth's > atmosphere en route to a landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. > > Before her death, Dr. Chawla remarked from the spacecraft Columbia that it > was important to take care of this fragile planet. Upon her return to Earth, > she hoped to become more involved with Audubon and similar organizations that > supported environmental stewardship and education. > > Dr. Chawla> '> s will designates Audubon as the organization of her choice > for fulfilling this wish. Following through her desire to > "> recognize and > support outstanding individuals who are committed to the sustainability of > Planet Earth,> "> Dr. Chawla> '> s will establishes The Kalpana Chawla Fund > for Environmental Stewardship with National Audubon Society to promote the > care and wise stewardship of our fragile planet. The $300,000 Fund will > recognize worthy conservation projects in the U.S. and globally. Audubon > will work with its international conservation partners, including the Royal > Society for the Protection of Birds and Bird Life International, to identify > significant environmental efforts worldwide. > > "> Kalpana Chawla's regard for birds and the planet that supports them was > deeply held,> "> said Audubon President John Flicker. > "> Her desire to > foster strong stewardship and protect our global heritage is realized in the > fund that her will so generously establishes and that Audubon is fortunate to > administer.> "> > > "> Kalpana Chawla is a hero,> "> said Audubon Chair-elect Carol M. Browner, > former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. > "> Her > accomplishments at such a young age were remarkable. It is testament to the > depth of her knowledge that she understood how fragile our planet is and how > we must all work to protect it.> "> > > An accomplished birder, Dr. Chawla, developed a love of nature and birds as a > girl in India. While living in Houston, she shared her love of birding with > her sisters and her friends, who often accompanied her on long birding trips > in and around Texas. On one trip to Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge on the > Texas coastal bend, Dr. Chawla and her friends marveled at the huge flocks of > herons, egrets, ibises, and migrating birds that stop through Texas on their > route south. > "> Chawla loved the possibilities for seasonal sightings of > migrating birds in Texas,> "> said Carolynn Conley, a close friend and > fellow birder, in a profile that appears in > Birding magazine. > > "> Kalpana grew from the lessons she learned from birds,> "> continued > Conley. > "> More than just the birds themselves, Kalpana taught us that > birding is also about people and relationships,> "> said Cynthia Tuthill, > Chawla's friend also featured in the Birding magazine article. > "> She was > so deeply touched by this magnificent community of souls. She loved sharing > her experiences and learning from others.> "> > > Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat > that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers > and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of > areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all > ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences. > > # # # > You are subscribed to Audubon-News. To unsubscribe, send email to audubon-news-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field. To adjust other settings (vacation, digest, etc.) please visit, http://www.freelists.org/list/audubon-news.