Michael Brune keynotes RMC Winter Awards Gala

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Michael Brune speaks at winter gala
Sierra Club Director Michael Brune speaks at Winter Gala

With 16 impressive awards handed out to deserving Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) and other Colorado environmentalists, Sierra Club members and friends enjoyed a festive RMC Winter Gala and dinner in December in Golden.

Highlighting the event was special guest speaker, Sierra Club Director Michael Brune, whose message of optimism in themidst of many ongoing environmental challenges was welcome and appreciated by all Gala attendees.

“Most people don’t feel good about climate change because the news is dark and depressing,” Brune said. “This pessimism is our top challenge because it limits our ability to do big things. But we (Sierra Club) must inspire people and set a new vision to explore, enjoy and protect the planet.”

Sierra Club has set the monumental goal of moving toward 100 percent clean energy in upcoming decades, Brune announced, noting he appreciates the efforts and commitment of RMC volunteers to work hard and often successfully on energy and other pressing environmental issues in the Rocky Mountain region.

RMC Award Winners
RMC Award Recipients for 2013

The Gala, organized by Dave Read, RMC Fundraising Team chair, and other members of the team, also served as an opportunity for participants to take part in a silent auction that raised funds for ongoing RMC work.

Handing out, and/or accepting various environmental activism and leadership awards, were RMC Executive Committee (ExCom) members Dave Bryan, Myrna Poticha, Becky English and Mark Stevens. The following awards were presented:

Columbine Award. The Chapter’s highest award went to Myrna Poticha, an ExCom leader who “with superior leadership” has spent more than 20 years working tirelessly with RMC and other organizations on water and other environmental issues in Colorado.

John Wade Award. A founding member of the Pikes Peak Group, John Stansfield was given this award for “walking the talk” with his long-time and dedicated work on wilderness protection and other environmental issues.

Leader of the Year. Will Walters, a member of the Poudre Canyon Group, was recognized for his “depth of knowledge” and “tireless energy” as a volunteer leader.

Grassroots Leader of the Year. This award went to Kathleen Butler, who was instrumental this past year in the “difficult task” of helping organize the new Denver Metro Network.

Charlie Aurea Award. For her “quiet but forceful leadership and political activism,” Jane Ard Smith, a member of the Pikes Peak Group and Political Committee chair, was awarded this special distinction.

Group or Network of the Year. The Indian Peaks Group, whose members worked tireless on fracking and municipalization efforts in Boulder, was honored with this award.

Conservationist of the Year. A longtime chair of the Conservation Committee, Kirk Cunningham was selected for his “outstanding successes” as the mainstay of the committee.

Distinguished Service Award. Leading the RMC Legislative Team, Mary Coday Edwards was presented this award for her “outstanding service” and “indefatigable service” on the team.

Distinguished Service Award. Unrelenting in her fight against fracking and other pressing oil and gas issues, Lauren Swain, also a busy member of the RMC Communications Team, received this award for going “way beyond what an unpaid volunteer” normally does for Sierra Club.

Activist of the Year. A dedicated activist of the Indian Peaks Group, Neshama Abraham received this honor for her “outstanding work” leading the Boulder Oil and Gas Team in its fight against fracking and other environmental issues.

Grassroots Conservationist of the Year. The founder of Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins, Kelly Giddens was honored for her successful efforts to keep fracking out of Fort Collins and other environmental concerns that affect the general health of the community.

Legislator of the Year. This prestigious award went to Colorado Senator John Morse for his expansion of renewable energy in Colorado and also his courageous stance to promote gun safety in Colorado, which ultimately cost him his legislative position.

Conservation Company of the Year.  For the forward-thinking company’s steadfast commitment to helping preserve natural resources, Patagonia was selected for this distinctive award.

Certificates of Appreciation. Three RMC volunteers were noted for their special efforts to help make RMC successful in 2013: Dave Read, Fundraising Committee chair; Jim Van DeWege, RMC treasurer; and Linda Batlin, for her 40 years of service in the Indian Peaks Group.

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