Sierra Club 2004 National Awards
activists, photographers, webmasters, and hybrid-vehicle drivers
were honored at the Sierra Club's annual Honors and Awards Banquet
The Sierra Club's highest honor, the John Muir Award,
honoring a distinguished record of achievement, went this year to
longtime wilderness activist Vicky Hoover of San
Francisco. When Hoover began leading national outings for the Club,
Richard Nixon was duking it out with Hubert Humphrey for the presidency
and the Wilderness Act was a mere four years old. Thirty-six years
later, Hoover is still leading national outings and championing
the wild places she holds dear.
"I don't deserve a lot of credit for wilderness activism because
I've done it selfishly, for fun," she says with characteristic modesty.
"It doesn't feel like work going to wild, beautiful places, advocating
for them, and taking other people there." Hoover's many decades
of conservation activism, however, stand as indubitable proof of
her vigor, her vision, and her commitment to the cause.
The 2004 awards ceremony was held on September 11 in San Francisco,
and featured author and nationally syndicated columnist Arianna
Huffington as guest speaker.
and Gabrielle Adelman of Corralitos, California, received
the Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography.
The Adelmans were honored for their work on the California Coastal
Records Project, a massive effort to photograph the entire 1,100-mile
California coastline from the air. Their photographs, which now
number more than 12,000, have been used by numerous organizations
in their efforts to protect the California coastline. They are available
free of charge at www.californiacoastline.org.
The couple was featured in Sierra magazine's One
Small Step column in the July/August 2003 issue.
Douglas, executive director of the California Coastal Commission
since 1984, received the Distinguished Service Award,
which honors persons in public service for strong and consistent
commitment to conservation. "Peter has improved protection of our
coast from pollution, strengthened enforcement under the California
Coastal Act, and enhanced public education and outreach about the
importance of our marine resources," said U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer.
receiving the Distinguished Service Award was California
State Senator Byron Sher, one of the nation's preeminent
state legislators on environmental issues. Laws he has authored
during his 24 years in the California state legislature have served
as models for similar legislation around the nation. "Over the years
Senator Sher has shown consistent leadership on environmental issues,
writing legislation to protect California's air, water, forests
and wilderness areas," said Sierra Club President Larry Fahn. "He
has been an inspiration to like-minded state legislators around
the country, and he will be deeply missed." Sher is retiring
in November due to term limits. He lives in Palo Alto and is a former
Stanford University law professor. He started his career in the
California State Assembly in 1980 and was elected to serve in the
State Senate in 1996.
Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award, which recognizes
a Sierra Cllub member under the age of 30, went to 18-year-old Paul
Dana of San Diego. Dana organized more than 20,000 students
around the country to participate in Earth Day events this year.
He is starting his freshman year at UC Santa Cruz this month and
is currently the California coordinator for the Sierra Student Coalition.
Dana participated in part of this summer's Heidi
the Hybrid Tour, which followed the Republican National Committee's
Reggie the Registration Rig around the country.
Also honored were former Secretary of the Interior Stewart
Lee Udall of Santa Fe, New Mexico, who received the Edgar
Wayburn Award for service to the environment by a person in government;
and syndicated columnist Molly
Ivins of Austin, Texas, who received the David Brower Award
for environmental journalism.
Achievement Award (honoring persons in public service): Allan
Laird (far left) of Littleton, Colorado; Michael Parker
of Maryland. Laird is the Echo Bay mining company official who blew
the whistle on the company's practice of working with Al Quaeda-linked
terrorists to protect its operation in the Philippines. After failing
to get U.S. government officials to listen to him, Laird went to
the Sierra Club, and Sierra magazine printed the story. The Department
of Justice is investigating the case.
Meanwhile, Michael Parker in 1996, took on the job of Program Manager-Assembled
Chemical Weapons Assessment, a Department of Defense program established
by order of the Congress. (The Sierra Club helped to draft the legislation.)
In this role, he has overseen the development and demonstration
of three complex treatment systems for destroying the nations
chemical weapons stockpile, proving conclusively that there are
viable and economically attractive alternatives to incineration
for dealing with hazardous wastes of all kinds.
EarthCare Award (honoring a contribution
to international environmental protection and conservation): James
Barnes of France. Barnes founded the Antarctica and Southern
Ocean Coalition in 1978 and founded the Antarctic Project in 1982.
He has been involved with Friends of the Earth in France as well
as Friends of the Earth International and Friends of the Earth U.S.
Communication Award: Angeles Chapter (for angeles.sierraclub.org).
Ann Zumwinkle -- lead webmaster and web designer for the chapter
-- accepted the award on behalf of the chapter.
Alliance Award (for forging partnerships with non-Sierra
Club entities): Ross Vincent of Pueblo, Colorado. Vincent
is a chemical engineer who formed a coalition of environmentalists,
labor unions, community groups and the Catholic diocese to address
the problem of chemical weapons disposal. Lobbying by this coalition
convinced the Army to use a method other than incineration to dispose
of 2,600 tons of mustard gas being stored at the Pueblo Depot. This
coalition became known as Better Pueblo, and it continues to work
on issues like air pollution from a nearby steel mill and a proposed
limestone strip mine.
and Denny Wilcher Award (for outstanding fundraising efforts
or membership development): The Cumberland Chapter (Kentucky).
Lane Boldman accepted the chapter's award.
Pyeatt Award (honoring Club members working with youth):
Mark Walters of Coral Gables, Florida. In addition to having
a full-time job as a medical researcher, a family, and studying
for his MBA, Walters has been a leader in the Miami Inner City Outings
program for more than 10 years, and has led at least 120 outings.
He also co-founded the Miami ICO Youth Leaders Program, which identifies
children who are potential leaders and gives them one-on-one training
to become leaders with ICO and in their communities.
Award: The Indiana Sierran (published by the Indiana
Chapter); and The Bugle (published by the Rocky Mountain
Chapter's Indian Peaks Group). Bugle newsletter editor Rebecca Dickson,
right, accepted the award for her group, and Paula Richards
Oliver Kehrlein Award (for outstanding
service to the Outings program): Brad and Katy Cristie of
Club Award (for using outings to instill an interest in conservation
and protecting public lands): David Simon of Los Altos, California.
Simon served as chair of the Outdoor Activities Governance Committee
for more than four years, and during this time, the Clubs
outdoor activities program made substantial progress in its goal
of becoming an integrated and vital partner in the clubs conservation
campaigns at all levels.
Raymond Sherwin International Award (for international conservation):
Judy Olmer of Cabin John, Maryland. Olmer represents the
Sierra Club as an NGO observer to the International Whaling Commission.
In 1998, she became moderator of the Clubs Marine Mammal Forum,
a listserv designed to provide information on marine mammal issues.
As a member of the Marine Committee and the International Committee,
she has worked tirelessly on issues involving whales, seals, dolphins
and other marine mammals. The most critical issue she has been involved
with is the effort to stop or slow the U.S. Navys deployment
of very high intensity sonar, which has the real potential to kill
Special Achievement Award (recognizing a single act of importance
dedicated to conservation): Keith Schue, a sprawl activisit
in Mount Plymouth, Florida. In 2003, the Florida Wildlife Federation
named Schue its "Water
Conservationist of the Year."
Service Awards (for commitment to conservation over an extended
period of time): Sam Booher (right) of Augusta, Georgia;
Ruth Caplan (left) of Washington, D.C.; Sherm Janke
of Bozeman, Montana; and Gwen Nystuen of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Booher was instrumental in convincing
DuPont to drop its plans to mine near the Okefenokee Swamp in
Caplan has served on the Corporate Relations Committee and was the
first chair of the Clubs Corporate Accountability Committee.
She also has served on the Energy Committee and most recently was
involved with developing the Clubs policy on water privatization
and developing educational materials to accompany the film Thirst.
E. Miller Award (for outstanding service to Sierra Club chapters):
Charles Oriez (left) of Littleton, Colorado; Mark Collier
(right) of Boulder, Colorado. Oriez is a Rocky Mountain Chapter
member who has been involved with information technology initiatives.
He was one of the first Club members to develop a chapter website
and served for many years as the Rocky
Mountain Chapter webmaster. He has been a member of the Clubs
IT Committee for 23 years, and was also involved in the development
of the Grassroots E-mail System that provides e-mail aliases for
Collier has not only served as the Rocky Mountain chapter chair
and chapter treasurer, but he has helped chapters throughout the
Club through his work as a member of the National IT Committee since
1996. He has helped develop listserv capability for chapters, set
up a bulletin board system for chapter use, and set up Sierra Club
e-mail aliases for chapters that wanted them. He also has helped
a number of chapters set up systems for accepting credit card transactions.
Collier currently is serving on a task force that is trying to ease
the burden of financial reporting on volunteer treasurers and chapter
Colby Award (the Club's highest honor for administrative
work): Greg Casini of Denver, Colorado. Casini has served
as chair of the clubs Organizational Effectiveness Committee
since 2001. During this period, he has implemented a variety of
programs to address the recurrent problems of groups and chapters.
He has worked tirelessly to help groups and chapters address such
issues as strategic planning, leadership training and conflict resolution.
In addition to serving as chair of the Organizational Effectiveness
Committee, Casini has continued to serve as chair of the Rocky Mountain
Chapter and has served as co-chair of an effort to plan a 2005 national
convention for the club. Greg was recently appointed to fill a vacancy
on the Board of Directors.
O. Douglas Award (for contributions in the field of environmental
law): Roger Beers of Oakland, California. Beers began his
career with the Natural Resources Defense Council and then worked
for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (now EarthJustice). He has
been a member of the Clubs litigation committee for more than
10 years. He has handled numerous clean air, clean water, land use,
forest protection and other suits. He also has been called upon
to give general legal advice to the Club and handle major suits
for it, as well as other conservation organizations.
Photos by Saul Bromberger & Sandra Hoover