Duke Leaf Award

An Award for Lifetime Environmental Achievement in the Fine Arts

The Duke LEAF is awarded annually to an artist whose work has lifted the human spirit by conveying our profound spiritual and material connection to the Earth and thereby inspiring others to help forge a more sustainable future for all.

We are on an unsustainable course. World populations and consumption grow, resources diminish, precious habitats shrink, and global warming threatens our way of life. A more sustainable path must be adopted and that will require people to make fundamental changes. Such changes require an intellectual understanding of the problems we face as a society; an understanding that is communicated by scientists, engineers, economists, and politicians. But an intellectual understanding is often not sufficient. To effect fundamental change, people need to be inspired.

They need to be reminded, on an emotional and visceral level of their connection to humanity, the Earth and the environmental perils we face. Establishing this type of connection is the purview of the artist. The Duke LEAF recognizes the important role of the artist in advancing a national and international environmental agenda. Artists who have inspired others to work for a more sustainable future through a body of work and advocacy are eligible for the award. The annual recipient of the LEAF is chosen by the Executive Committee of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and is recognized at an Awards Ceremony on the Duke University campus.

Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment creates knowledge and leaders of consequence for a sustainable future through a new paradigm in research and education; one that attempts to understand the earth and the environment as an integrated whole and use that understanding to foster and spread the environmental ethic. The Nicholas School’s program is enhanced by strong collaborations with Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Duke’s six other professional schools, as well as access to the 7,000 acre Duke Forest and its satellite campus at the Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina.