Geneticist and conservationist Dr. Liane Russell and her family escaped Nazi-occupied Austria during WWII, which ultimately freed her to pursue a significant career spent studying the effects of radiations and chemicals on heredity. Her scientific know-how has been put to use in her environmental activism for gathering and analyzing data to support protection of lands and waters and for communicating the need for action to fellow citizens.
During the 1960s, she helped organize the Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, which helped secure protection of the region’s Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and obtain the National Wild and Scenic River designation for the Obed River. She and her husband have also donated 233 critical acres along the Obed River, Clear Creek and Clifty Creek to The Nature Conservancy. Her work has led to several public lands successes, including the permanent protection of more than 150,000 land acres and more than 120 miles of waterways throughout the Cumberland region.