The board members of Bergen County Audubon Society are proud to announce that the winner of this year’s Jill Homcy Memorial Award is Emilia Lorenz, recognized for her unwavering dedication to promoting the preservation of the environment in the Meadowlands through her stunning landscape and wildlife photography and videography.
This award honors Jill’s memory by recognizing a photographer or videographer whose skill and passion behind the lens has raised awareness to preserve and protect wildlife and natural habitat in our region.
Message from Emilia Lorenz
To the family and friends of Jill Homcy,
I am humbled and exceptionally honored to be chosen for the Jill Homcy Award and represent the vision of Jill Homcy. Growing up in New Jersey, the Meadowlands has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have walked the trails and attended events at DeKorte Park more times than I can count. The Meadowlands is my home, hence the driving force for the reason I chose this significant area as the topic of my college thesis.
In the year and a half it took to complete, I learned so much about this region. Specifically, its extensive history of being mistreated, and yet how resilient it has remained despite all its challenges. However, just because the Meadowlands has overcome those obstacles and is the sanctuary as we know it today, does not mean our work here is done.
Walking through the Meadowlands today, sounds of birds are interrupted by those coming from nearby highways. Layers of infrastructure are juxtaposed against the foreground of wildlife and landscape. Planes constantly fly overhead, alongside waterfowl. Animals live in makeshift homes due to the confiscation of natural shelters. That is just the tip of the iceberg of issues that require our attention.
I’ve been warned about climate change consistently throughout my education in New Jersey, however, I have yet to see local ecosystems prioritized over economic gain. My goal for my thesis is to highlight the tension between mankind and vital habitat. As well as emphasize the pressure put on the Meadowlands and how in spite of that, it remains a beautiful refuge fighting for its inhabitants. It’s important we continue to fight for them too.
Once more, I am incredibly honored to be chosen for the Jill Homcy Award. Reading about her incredible accomplishments for the Meadowlands, in addition to her immense love for nature, I have a lot to look up to. Her impact of raising awareness of environmental issues is truly inspiring. To be able to achieve what Jill Homcy has, has been a goal of mine since I first picked up a camera. I will continue this work that photographers like myself, Jill Homcy and many others have dedicated so much of their time to.
Emilia first came to the attention of the BCAS while a student at New Jersey City University majoring in photography. For her senior thesis, Emilia produced “Encroachment of the Meadowlands,” a video in which she interviewed several Meadowlands scientists and experts to explore the region’s delicate urban eco-system that exists amongst development.
“Jill Homcy used her camera to bring conservation issues to the forefront and in a way that everyone could see, feel and understand,” said Don Torino, President of the BCAS. “Emilia has done the same with her video. It reminds us all why our Meadowlands is so important, and that it still needs our vigilance and protection.”
As a summer intern this year with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, Emilia’s responsibilities included capturing the natural beauty of the Meadowlands. She enthusiastically lent her lens and great talent to documenting in fine form the region’s natural beauty through the landscapes and wildlife that inhabit spaces like DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst and Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus. She also photographed special events like “Butterfly Day” to help spotlight the winged marvels and show people the joy and wonder of children learning about the environment.
Bergen County Audubon Society is very proud to honor Jill’s legacy and to witness Jill’s values carried on by Emilia’s work and commitment. If you know someone that uses their talents to preserve and protect our wildlife, please let us know.
The best of our youth. Love that you honored her work.
What a woman.
We agree Sally ! she is amazing !
Thank you for honoring my niece Emilia. What a true honor. I read about Jill Homcy. I wish I would have known her. She sounds like an incredible person who left a wonderful legacy.
she is a great young woman that everyone should be very proud of , she honors Jill’s legacy well
She was an amazing person! My baby sister.
I am so proud of Emilia! Her photography is wonderful and the fact that she, in the inception of her career, chooses to focus on the issues of conservation, makes her even more of a prize for all of us.
Congratulations Emilia! Well deserved!
Congratulations Emilia! An amazing accomplishment and inspiring body of work!
My family and I extend a hearty Congratulations to Emelia! We’re so proud of you! We are touched that my sister’s love and passion for nature will continue on. Jill was the best sister, daughter, aunt, Godmother and a friend to all. ❤❤❤