Photo of Leora Feeney

Leora Feeney was inducted into the Environment Category in 2016.

My Story

Leora Feeney is a longtime volunteer with the Golden Gate Audubon Society whose efforts to save Alameda's tiniest endangered bird – the California Least Tern – convinced three federal agencies to create a wildlife reserve land that used to be the Naval Air Station in Alameda. Leora's deep respect for our local environment – and her dedicated volunteer work to preserve it – stretches back decades. In the 1970s she helped organize Save Our Shoreline to ensure that shoreline developments provided public access and protected wildlife habitats. She also monitored bird numbers in Alameda for many years. She led bird walks and designed classroom activities for elementary schools. But it was the tiny Least Tern that revealed Leora’s devotion to the natural world. The 1992 announcement Alameda's Naval Air Station was closing, prompted Leora and friends to organize a grassroots effort to preserve more than 500 acres of the air station property to create a permanent habitat for the Least Tern and other wildlife populations. Twenty-two years later the U.S. Navy, U.S. Veterans Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, City of Alameda, and conservationists finally came to an agreement. In 2014 the 512-acre Alameda Wildlife Reserve was created to protect the Least Tern in perpetuity.