Russ Train has long been one of my heroes. A Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, the second administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, a founding director of World Wildlife Fund, an architect of the modern conservation movement – he was a true national treasure and an inspiration to all of us who embrace conservation as their life’s work. On behalf of WWF and our five million members and 6,000 employees around the world, we send our love to Russ’s dear wife Aileen, his partner in an adventure that spanned five decades, and to their children Nancy, Emily, Bowdoin and Errol. Those of us fortunate enough to know Russ Train loved him, and all for which he stood, beyond measure.
Russ always led by example. He defied convention, and he did so with a seamless combination of charm, humor and intelligence that was its own easy, familiar form of magic. His usual pinstriped elegance gave way to seersucker in the summer, but he always spoke plainly and clearly about the dangers facing our planet and the imperative that we act.
Undoubtedly Russ would prefer that we not spend a lot of time mourning his passing. He would want us to redouble our efforts to save the animals and places we care about, to solve the problems of climate change and resource scarcity and to build leadership capacity in those countries where it’s needed most.
So we will honor him not only by continuing to pursue the finest form of conservation in the years ahead, but also by ensuring that the Education For Nature program created in his name continues to train the next generation of conservationists. Russ will be well remembered and forever missed. His legacy of service, courage and charm will endure, and we will always strive to make him proud.