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Sierra Club Announces 2000 National Awards

SAN FRANCISCO – Sept. 23, 2000 – A California schoolteacher who has spent more than 20 years trying to protect giant sequoia groves in the Sierra Nevada, a New York congressman who is leading the fight for protection of Utah’s Redrock wilderness and a Washington Post reporter who exposed questionable practices within the Army Corps of Engineers were among those receiving national awards from the Sierra Club this year.

The club’s top award, the John Muir Award, went to Porterville, Calif., resident Carla Cloer for her work to protect the giant sequoia trees in California. Cloer was instrumental in securing passage of the Giant Sequoia National Monument, which President Clinton signed into law April 15. The bill declared 328,000 acres of Sequoia National Forest a National Monument, which will protect sequoia groves in the forest from logging.

"If it were not for the work Carla has done during the past 20 years, it is doubtful that we would have a Giant Sequoia National Monument today," said Sierra Club President Robert Cox.

New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey received the club’s Edgar Wayburn Award, which honors service to the environment by a person in government. Hinchey has represented New York’s 26th Congressional District since 1993. Since his first term in Congress, Rep. Hinchey has championed the Utah Wilderness bill, now known as "America’s Redrock Wilderness Act" and has persuaded numerous Congressional representatives to endorse this legislation, which would secure protection for more than 9 million acres of Utah wilderness. He also helped secure federal funds to help preserve the Sterling Forest in New Jersey.

Washington Post reporter Michael Grunwald received the club’s David Brower Award for environmental journalism for his series of investigative reports on the Army Corps of Engineers. The series, which involved more than 1,000 interviews and examination of tens of thousands of pages of documents, found that the Corps is converting its strong congressional relationships into billions of dollars worth of taxpayer-funded water projects, many with significant environmental costs and minimal economic benefit.

"Michael has written the most definitive series of articles about the Corps of Engineers and their destruction of American rivers ever produced," Cox said.

Grunwald began his work on the Corps of Engineers stories in November 1999, when the Post named him a national enterprise reporter. His articles exposing the Corps’ manipulation of data to justify destructive water projects – like new locks on the Mississippi River – have sparked congressional investigations, a National Academy of Sciences investigation, a Defense Department investigation, congressional hearings and nationwide calls for independent review of proposed and existing Corps water projects. The articles have been reprinted in newspapers across the country.

The Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award, which honors persons under age 30 who have demonstrated a commitment to the environment, was given to Chicago resident Patrick Murphy.

Murphy is a founder and co-chair of the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter’s Utah Wilderness Task Force and national conservation director for the Sierra Student Coalition, the student arm of the Sierra Club. He also is a member of the Sierra Club’s National Conservation Governance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Group of the Sierra Club’s Illinois Chapter.

Murphy’s award included a $2,000 prize from the Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund that will be divided between the Sierra Student Coalition and the National Utah Wilderness Task Force to help further Murphy’s work with those organizations.

Others receiving Sierra Club awards for 2000 included the following:

The Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography: Clyde Butcher of Ochopee, Fla.

The William O. Douglas Award (for contributions in the field of environmental law): Eric Huber of New Orleans, La.

The Raymond Sherwin International Award (for international conservation): Beth Clark of the Antarctica Project.

The Chico Mendes Award (recognizes individuals or non-governmental organizations outside the United States who have exhibited extraordinary courage and leadership in the struggle to protect the environment.): Mexican anti-logging activist Rodolfo Montiel Flores.

The EarthCare Award (honors an individual, organization or agency that has made a unique contribution to international environmental protection and conservation.): The Bellona Foundation of Norway.

The William Colby Award (for outstanding leadership, dedication and service to the Sierra Club): Marjorie Sill of Reno, Nev.

The Walter A. Starr Award (for continuing support of the Club by a former director): Shirley Taylor of Los Gatos, Calif.

The Oliver Kehrlein Award (for outstanding service to the club’s Outings program): Carol Vellutini of Santa Rosa, Calif.

Susan E. Miller Award (for outstanding service to Sierra Club chapters): Robin and Lori Ives of Claremont, Calif.

One Club Award (recognizes people who use outings as a way to instill an interest in conservation and protecting public lands): Camille Armstrong of San Diego, Calif.

Denny and Ida Wilcher Award (for excellence in fundraising and/or membership development): the Central Florida Group, the Santa Fe Group and the Poudre Canyon Group (Colorado).

Special Achievement Award (recognizes a single act of importance dedicated to conservation):Harold Wood of Visalia, Calif., and the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Special Service Awards (for strong and consistent commitment to conservation over an extended period of time): George Barnes of Palo Alto, Calif., Peter Belmont of St. Petersburg, Fla.; Jan Swenson, Gerhard Raedeke and Diane Warner of Bismark, N.D.; the Santa Monica Mountains Task Force (Angeles Chapter) and Dennis Schvejda of North Haledon, N.J.

Electronic Communication Award (for best Sierra Club Web page): Charlotte Gardner (Georgia Chapter and Savannah River Group).

Newsletter Award: The Chesapeake (Maryland Chapter) and The Delaware Sierran (Delaware Chapter).

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