It is with great sadness that the Village community lost and said goodbye to another long-time activist and resident, Milton M. Kaufmann, earlier this week.
Kaufmann, who is the namesake for Kaufmann Park on Wightman Road, lived in Montgomery Village with his late wife, Sabina, for 44 years. At 97 years old, Kaufmann touted an impressive résumé of service to his country and his community, as well as to the environment and the world in general.
In 1971, after a 30-year career in the United States Air Force, Retired Colonel Milton M. Kaufmann began a new career as a full time conservationist and environmentalist, settling in Montgomery Village. Early into his second career, he mainly focused on national and international coalitions of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The NGOs he formed were primarily conservationist groups that collaborated with governments and international agencies.
Kaufmann founded, co-founded or was integral in leadership and establishing many conservation groups, projects and treaties across the globe, including: Monitor Consortium USA; the Antarctic and Southern Oceans Coalition; Monitor International; the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Recovery Team and Network; work on the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act; participation in formation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act; co-organizer of the National Land Use Symposium in Washington, D.C.; and protocol concerning Specially Protected Area and Wildlife, among many others.
Kaufmann was also the recipient of many accolades and heartfelt “Thank Yous” from senators, international government officials and even former Vice President Al Gore for his work on global environmental projects. He received the United States Legion of Merit during his time in the U.S. Air Force and shares the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate as a member of the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces. Kaufmann was named to the 1990 Global 500 Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement and received the 1987 Friends of UNEP Environmental Award.
Even while travelling the globe, Kaufmann never forgot about his community. In Montgomery Village, he founded the Lakes, Ponds and Streams Committee (later to be named the Committee on the Environment); developed the Village Flag, released at the Village’s 40th Anniversary; lobbied the county to save the Goshen Elm from impending development and roadway improvements; worked tirelessly on a number of conservation issues; and launched a local humanitarian effort to feed the needy. He also worked at the county and state levels to preserve miles of environmental trails and expand greenway for conservation and biodiversity.
In 2008, Kaufmann was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montgomery Village Foundation Board of Directors naming him as “our ‘citizen’ for all seasons and keeper of environmental well-being of our community.” MVF President John Driscoll commented, “Milton Kaufmann has been a great influence on environmental matters in the Village and around the world, and his work on our behalf will be missed.”