August 6, 2012
Contact: Ellen Davis - (512) 639-9959 or
SIERRA CLUB ANNOUNCES 2012 NATIONAL AWARDS
Note to editors:
Photos of the award winners are available upon request
SAN FRANCISCO – Twenty-eight
“Modern-Day Muirs” received national awards from the Sierra Club this year. The
awards were presented at a ceremony held in San Francisco Aug. 4.
The Club’s top award, the John Muir
Award, went to Don Parks, an environmental activist from Redmond, Wash.,
who has helped secure protection for numerous acres of wild lands in Washington
State over the past 40 years. Among the areas Parks has helped protect is the Alpine
Lakes Wilderness, one of America’s most visited wilderness areas. Parks is
considered by many to be one of the premier experts on the Alpine Lakes region.
Another top award, the William E. Colby Award, went to Kenneth Langton of Tucson, Ariz.
Langton chairs the Club’s Grand Chapter
and has served on three national governance committees for the Sierra Club. Langton
also has been a strong supporter of Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood received the club’s Edgar Wayburn Award, which honors outstanding service to the
environment by a person in government. Secretary LaHood has presided over historic increases in fuel economy standards,
which will reach 49.6 miles per gallon in 2025. He also has championed a
transportation system that will reduce our dependence on oil by promoting
alternatives such as biking, walking and livable communities.
Schultz, a state senator from Wisconsin, received the Distinguished Achievement Award, which
honors persons in public service
for a particular action of singular importance to conservation. In 2012,
Schultz was the lone Republican to vote against two pieces of
anti-environmental legislation that came up in the state legislative
session. One of the bills he voted
against would have made sweeping changes to Wisconsin mining law, enabling a
company called Gogebic Taconite (GTac) to create an open pit taconite mine in
the headwaters of the Bad River Watershed in northern Wisconsin and dump its
toxic mine wastes into wetlands and streams immediately adjacent to the open
pit. The Bad River is an irreplaceable cultural and subsistence resource
for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who rely on it for fish, wild
rice and other resources.
Jeff Goodell, author of the 2006 book Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s
Energy Future, received the David R. Brower Award, which recognizes
outstanding environmental reporting.
Goodell is now a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine, and his stories on energy and the
environment also have been featured in The
New Republic, The Washington Post,
The New York Times Magazine and Wired. Goodell also is the author of the
2011 book, How to Cool the Planet:
Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate.
The club’s Ansel
Adams Award, which honors excellence in conservation photography, went to Florian Schultz, a native of Germany
who has spent the past 10 years photographing
wilderness areas in North America. Schultz has published two books − Yellowstone to Yukon: Freedom to Roam,
which documents the Yellowstone to
Yukon wildlife corridor, and To The Arctic, which is the official
companion book to the IMAX film of the same name.
The Club’s William O. Douglas
Award, which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding use of the
legal/judicial process to achieve environmental goals, went to Robert Wiygul of Ocean Springs, Miss. Wiygul
has represented the Club on an array of legal fronts in the Gulf Coast area,
from its response to the BP oil disaster, to litigation challenging regulations
that would allow drilling off the coast of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Wiygul recently scored a major victory for the Sierra Club in the Mississippi
Supreme Court, which reversed the Public Service Commission’s approval to
construct the new Kemper County coal plant.
The Club’s EarthCare Award, which
honors an individual, organization, or agency that has made a unique
contribution to international environmental protection and conservation, went
to Barbara Bramble, senior program advisor for the
National Wildlife Federation’s International Affairs Department. Bramble has
built international citizen campaigns to reform the environmental and social
policies of international financial institutions such as the World Bank, and to
advocate for international trade agreements that promote sustainable
development. Bramble also has helped start several important international NGOs
such as the Rainforest Action Network and the Forest Stewardship Council, which
promotes responsible forest management through a respected certification system
for timber and other forest products.
Others receiving 2012 Sierra Club national awards included
(honors the best use of
communications by a Sierra Club group, chapter or other entity to further the
Club’s mission): the West Virginia
Chapter for its Marcellus Gas Campaign.
Environmental Alliance Award
(recognizes individuals or groups that have forged partnerships with other
non-Sierra Club entities): Edward
McArdle of Melvindale, Mich., and the Club’s Vermont Chapter. McCardle
has worked with a numerous coalitions to address a wide variety of
environmental concerns in Michigan
and the Vermont Chapter is being recognized for the partnerships it developed
for its “Our Forests Our Future” campaign.
Francis P. Farquhar Mountaineering Award
(recognizes contributions to mountaineering): Tina Bowman of Long Beach, Calif. Bowman was the first person to
complete all four mountaineering lists established by the various outings
sections or committees of the Angeles
Chapter. She also served as Chair of the Club’s Mountaineering Oversight
Committee from 2005 to 2010.
Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award
(recognizes a Sierra Club member under the age of 30): Joseph Manning of Chestnut Hill, Mass. Manning has been chair of the Sierra Student
Coalition’s Executive Committee since 2011 and has represented the Club at
three international climate change summits. The Sierra Student Coalition will receive $500 in recognition of this
Madelyn Pyeatt Award
(recognizes work with youth): Nicole
Veltre-Luton of Shadyside, Md. Veltre-Luton chairs the Club’s Baltimore Inner City Outings program, which will
receive $500 in recognition of this award.
Oliver Kehrlein Award
(for outstanding service to the Sierra Club’s outings program): Helena Coughlin of Sparks, Nev. Coughlin has served as Outings Chair for the Club’s
Great Basin Group since 2000.
(honors Sierra Club members who have used outings as a way to protect or
improve public lands, instill an interest in conservation, increase membership
in the Sierra Club, or increase awareness of the Sierra Club): Didi Toaspern of Chico, Calif. Toaspern
has been Chair of the Club’s National Outings Service Subcommittee since 2001.
Raymond J. Sherwin International
Award (honors extraordinary volunteer service toward international
conservation): Richard Ball of
Annandale, Va. Ball was the lead author on the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change) first and second assessment reports dealing with climate change
impacts on energy and industry.
Special Achievement Awards (for a
single act of importance dedicated to conservation or the Sierra Club): The Alamo Group in San Antonio, the Chicago Group’s Air & Water Committee,
and Kathy Little of Louisville, Ky.
Little played a pivotal role in Louisville Gas & Electric’s
decision to close its coal-fired Cane Run plant and convert it to natural gas
and the Chicago Group’s Air
& Water Committee pushed the City
of Chicago to retire two of the oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants in
the nation. The Alamo Group has worked with San Antonio’s city-owned
utility, CPS Energy, to transform it from
a secretive, conventional energy giant to a national leader in clean energy and
green jobs creation.
Special Service Awards (for strong and consistent commitment to
conservation over an extended period of time): Linda Bremer of Jacksonville, Fla.; James Kotcon of Morgantown, W. Va.; and Elizabeth Little of Hillsboro, W. Va. Bremer has spent 25 years
working to protect Florida’s rivers and springs; Kotcon has been at the
forefront of citizen organizing and lobbying to get the West Virginia
Legislature to pass adequate regulations to protect water and air quality from
degradation by gas drilling and coal-fired power plants; and Little has spent more than 25 years working to protect
the Monongahela National Forest.
Susan E. Miller
Award (honors administrative contributions to Sierra Club groups,
chapters and regional entities): Bob
Cates of Chatsworth Calif.; John
Spahr of Jackson, Wyo.; and Wallace
Taylor and Pam Mackey-Taylor of
Marion, Ia. Cates has held a variety of administrative positions in the Club’s
Angeles Chapter, including serving as Chapter
historian. Spahr has given more than 20 of service to the Teton Group
and the Wyoming Chapter as well as several of the Club’s regional committees
and campaigns. The Taylors both have held a variety of leadership positions
within the Club’s Iowa Chapter.
Walter Starr Award (Honors continuing service to the Sierra Club
by a former member of the Board of Directors):
Marilyn Wall of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Since serving on the Board from 2006-2009, Wall has continued to contribute to
the Club at both the local and national level, including serving as Chair of
the Club’s Miami Group.
For more information
on the Sierra Club awards program, visit www. sierraclub.org/awards.