Kachemak Heritage Land Trust will honor Homer naturalists and educators Carmen and Conrad Field with its 2017 Land at Heart Award. The award is presented Saturday at KHLT’s 16th annual gala, Open Spaces and Wild Places, at Wasabi’s, starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $60 and on sale at the Homer Bookstore.
“It is with great honor that the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust Board of Directors presents Carmen and Conrad Field with our 4th annual Land at Heart Award. This award recognizes members of our communities ‘For distinguished contributions to land conservation on the Kenai Peninsula,’” said Denise Jantz, KHLT communications and development coordinator.
Carmen Field, 53, died in 2016 from breast cancer. Before her death she was honored with the Women of Distinction award from South Peninsula Haven House and had been previously honered with the Lifelong Learning Award from the Friends of the Homer Public Library and the Jerry S. Dixon Award for Excellence in Environmental Education by the Alaska Conservation Foundation. She worked as an environmental educator for the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve and Kachemak Bay Campus. She helped develop the Kids in Nature and Nature Rocks groups to encourage parents to experience nature and the outdoors with children.
Conrad Field is a seabird biologist, botanist and artist. He met Carmen in a forestry class in college.
They first came to Homer to work as naturalist guides for the Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge. With Carmen, they made more than 70 voyages to the Antarctica, lecturing on natural history, sea bird ecology, the art of scrimshaw, island flora and fauna, and Sir Ernest Shackleton. On several trips they were accompanied by their daughter, Eryn. They also started Northcountry Nature, a small press natural history publisher. The Fields also helped found the International Bird Beer Label Association, or IBBLA, which challenges birders to find beer labels with images of birds.
“Carmen and Conrad’s lifetime work has inspired thousands of people, young and old, to love, appreciate, explore, and play in the natural world that surrounds us. Carmen, as an ardent environmental educator, and Conrad, as a quintessential ecologist and naturalist, have shared an infectious enthusiasm and joy for the outdoors,” Jantz said.
“Carmen and Conrad’s passionate love of the natural world is and will continue to be incredibly inspiring far into the future. By sharing their passion and knowledge with so many, they have undoubtedly planted the necessary conservation seed with younger generations, nurturing the future stewards of the Peninsula’s treasured lands.
“Although Carmen is not physically here with us today, her memory and spirit are strong. We want to thank Carmen and Conrad for their wonderful contributions to our community, touching so many. You are shining examples of what makes the Kenai Peninsula and our community the special place that it is and will be far into the future.”