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Russell E. Train


  • Celebrating the life of Russell E. Train.

  • Learn about the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program and the conservation work being done by EFN grantees.

  • Russell E. Train, EPA Administrator in 1976, on the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Russell E. Train, founder and chairman emeritus of World Wildlife Fund, passed away on Monday, September 17, 2012.

Train was one of the most influential and well-known leaders in American conservation. Over the past half century, under his guidance and visionary leadership, World Wildlife Fund-US grew from a small primarily grant-making organization into a global conservation force with over one million members in the U.S. Train was a pioneer not only at WWF, but for the entire conservation movement.

Read the WWF statement on the passing of Russell E. Train.

Read the statement from Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund, on the passing of Russell E. Train.

View tributes in honor and remembrance of Russell E. Train from people around the world whose lives have been impacted by him and his work in conservation. We invite you to contribute and share your own thoughts too.

How You Can Help
Memorial contributions may be made to the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program.

  • Travels to Africa strengthened a passion and respect for wildlife for Russell E. Train, pictured here with his wife Aileen in 1958. He went on to found the African Wildlife Leadership Foundation in 1961.

  • In 1961 World Wildlife Fund was founded, and Russell E. Train became the first vice president of WWF-US. Here he is pictured with his wife Aileen, who shared his passion for conservation.

  • At the age of 45, Russell E. Train left his position as a United States Tax Court judge to become president of the Conservation Foundation in 1965.

  • Russell E. Train, far left, was selected in 1968 to serve as chairman, Task Force on Environment for the U.S. President-elect, Richard M. Nixon. His selection, and the creation of the task force, signaled the growing acceptance by the incoming administration of the “environment” as a public policy concept. In 1970, Train became the first chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, an advisory group serving the president and top governmental officials.

  • Russell E. Train was the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1973 to 1977. During that time, he oversaw the creation and implementation of much of the legislation that would become the basis for environmental policy in the United States, from clean air and water laws to the Toxic Substance Control Act.

  • Train became President and Chairman of WWF in 1978 and served in that capacity until 1985. Under his guidance, World Wildlife Fund-US expanded its focus not only on species-related conservation projects, but also on protecting habitat by establishing national parks and nature reserves.

  • In 1991, Russell E. Train received the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President George H.W. Bush in recognition of his work in conservation. Train was also the recipient of 14 honorary degrees from colleges and universities across the nation.

  • Russell E. Train's commitment to conservation actively continues through the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Fund, an endowment established in 1994 in his honor by WWF to provide financial support and educational training to the next generation of international conservation leaders. Here, Russell E. Train with grantees, and EFN Director Shaun Martin, top left.

  • In 2003, Train published Politics, Pollution and Pandas: An Environmental Memoir. A chronicle of his career, the book is also a history of the birth and growth of U.S. national interest in environmental issues. In 2006, Train received the prestigious Heinz Award, honoring individuals who have made extraordinary achievements on issues of importance. Train was recognized as “a tireless advocate for the cause of the environment since 1961,” “the architect of an environmental agenda without parallel in history in its scope” and as a “truly outstanding example of how a single life can make a difference in the world.”


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