The Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX) will be celebrating their annual Benefit Gala & Harold K. Hochschild Award ceremony on Saturday, July 29th from 6 to 9 pm, under the stars at their museum in the heart of the Adirondacks.
This yearly celebration and fundraiser highlights the organization’s accomplishments and achievements, as well as honors the Harold K. Hochschild Award recipient.
This award, given annually to a different recipient, is dedicated to the memory of the museum’s founder, whose passion for the Adirondacks, its people, and environment inspired him to create the museum and establish the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). The 2023 award recipient is conservationist and philanthropist Edward McNeil.
McNeil is an avid explorer, videographer, and philanthropist, devoted to wildlands science and the Adirondacks. Over the past 30 years, he has devoted his life to conservation and deepening our understanding of conservation science through his leadership and collaboration with many Adirondack- organizations.
McNeil served on the boards for Adirondack Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) from 1990 – 2014 and served as board chair from 1994 – 2001. Under his leadership, the Adirondack Chapter went through an extensive strategic planning process, developed an effective committee structure, and launched the Chapter’s first capital campaign, laying the groundwork for significant land acquisitions and successful outcomes.
McNeil enjoyed offering seaplane rides to TNC staff and donors, so they could observe land projects in the Adirondacks. This led to a partnership with Dr. Charlie Canham, an ecologist who was studying freshwater lakes in the Adirondacks.
In order to better support this project, McNeil built a twin engine floatplane powerful enough to land on more inaccessible lakes. He transported Dr. Canham to 520 Adirondack lakes through two summers of detailed research, which culminated in a critically important analysis of Adirondack lake chemistry.
McNeil’s long-time interest in photography and flying evolved into videography from the air. He began videotaping Finch Pruyn property assisting TNC staff in understanding and promoting the importance of protecting this land.
Through this work, McNeil built a relationship with Jerry Jenkins, renowned Adirondack botanist and recipient of the Hochschild Award in 2011. In 2012, he and Jenkins founded the Northern Forest Atlas Project, which aims to produce graphic tools for naturalists and ecologists.
Using his floatplane with mounted cameras and drones, McNeil has shared 60 videos of Adirondack landscapes on the Atlas Project’s website, to accompany Jerry Jenkin’s eight publications and 40,000 images and diagrams for public use.
The museum believes his unrelenting drive and determination along with his generosity and proven leadership has made lasting positive change throughout the Adirondack Park.
For additional information, call (518) 352-7311 or visit the ADKX website.