Thursday April 28, 2011
It was billed as the “Green Oscars” and by the time the ceremonies concluded it became clear that Vermont’s landscape and natural environment were the true stars of the evening.
On April 14 at the ECHO Center, the Burlington Free Press and ECHO presented three Vermont-based organizations with the first annual “Green Mountain Environmental Leadership Awards.” The state-wide awards recognized environmental leadership in three separate categories which included “Courage in Leadership”, “What a Great Idea!” and “Citizen Scientist.”
For its grassroots efforts and public awareness campaign in connection with preserving the Calkins Natural Area (now known as Wheeler Nature Park), the South Burlington Land Trust (SBLT) was awarded the “Courage in Leadership” award. SBLT President Sarah Dopp accepted the award on behalf of the SBLT for its efforts in 2008 to conserve the largest tract of open land in South Burlington in the face of public pressure within the community to build a new police station on approximately 6 acres of the Calkins Natural Area’s lands. SBLT board members Michael Mittag, Betty Milizia, Barbara Bull, Tricia King, Jaime Heins and SBLT member Penne Tomkins were also in attendance at the awards ceremony to celebrate the achievement.
In addition to the SBLT’s “Courage in Leadership” award, other winners included the Lake Champlain Committee in the “Citizen Scientist” category for its volunteer efforts to test Lake Champlain for toxic algae blooms and Freeaire Refrigeration’s Richard Travers in the “What a Great Idea!” category for his group’s work with cold air “polar power” cooling systems.
ECHO Executive Director Phelan Fretz moderated the event and opened the ceremony by asking the audience of 100 nominees and guests to remember the first time that they fell in love with Vermont. Keynote speaker David Donath, president of the Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock, reflected eloquently upon Vermont’s history of environmental stewardship and inspired those in attendance with words of encouragement to continue their groundbreaking efforts to maintain Vermont’s working landscape and natural beauty. The ceremony concluded with congratulatory wishes and an acknowledgement that next year’s awards will likely attract even more nominees to showcase Vermont’s groundbreaking environmental efforts.
As spring weather (slowly) approaches and we celebrate local Earth Day and Green-Up Day events within the community, we are reminded why we all fell in love with Vermont.
SOURCE: Jaime Heins, SBLT