Ms. Rust, a resident of Menlo Park, was recognized for her service at POST, where she has worked to save 53,000 acres of open space out of the total 64,000 acres POST has saved since its founding in 1977.
"Without the work of Audrey Rust, the South Bay and Peninsula would be a much different place," Mr. Gordon said.
After 24 years as president and executive director, Rust recently announced her plans to retire from POST in July.
The Palo Alto-based nonprofit land trust works in partnership with public agencies and private property owners to save land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.
Before coming to POST, Ms. Rust worked with the Sierra Club, Yale University and Stanford University.
A graduate of the University of Connecticut at Storrs, she has served on the boards of numerous local, state and national organizations, primarily in the conservation and housing arena.