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Investing in the Environment
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The Planet
Award Winners Applauded by Club

by Ellen Mayou Volunteer Awards Chair

A doctor who has made more than 1,800 ascents in the Sierra Nevada, the founder of Earth Day and a former Forest Service official were among those receiving national awards from the Sierra Club this year.

Award-winning photograph by Robin WayThe awards were to have been presented to honorees at the annual Volunteer Awards Banquet in San Francisco on Sept. 15, which was canceled due to the terrorist attacks four days earlier. The banquet was rescheduled to Feb. 23, 2002.

The Club's top award, the John Muir Award, went to former U. S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day in 1970 and is now a counselor to The Wilderness Society.

Michael Dombeck, who served as chief of the U.S. Forest Service during the Clinton administration, received the Edgar Wayburn Award, which honors service to the environment by a person in government. Dombeck was the primary architect of the landmark Roadless Area Conservation Rule as well as other conservation measures.

A new award, the Environmental Alliance Award, went to the High Desert Committee of the Club's Oregon Chapter. The committee celebrated a major victory in October 2000 when President Clinton signed an act protecting about 900,000 acres of federal land around Steens Mountain and the Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon. The High Desert Committee will receive $1,000 from the Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund to further its work.

Others receiving Sierra Club awards for 2001 included the following:

David Brower Award (for environmental journalism): Paul Rogers of the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, for his investigative series titled "Cash Cows," an in-depth look at public-lands livestock grazing.

Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award (honors persons under age 30 who have demonstrated a commitment to the environment): Nathan Wyeth of Chevy Chase, Md., executive director of the Montgomery County Student Environmental Activists and also leader of Student Action on the Global Economy. The award included a $2,000 prize from the Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund, which the Sierra Student Coalition will use to further Wyeth's work in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region.

Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography: Robin Way of Pacific Grove, Calif.

William O. Douglas Award (for contributions in the field of environmental law): Michael Stamp of Monterey, Calif.

Raymond Sherwin International Award (for international conservation): Michele Perrault of Lafayette, Calif., the Club's vice president for international affairs.

EarthCare Award (honors an individual, organization or agency that has made a unique contribution to international environmental protection and conservation): The European Natural Heritage Fund (Euronatur).

William Colby Award (for outstanding leadership, dedication and service to the Sierra Club): Jim Watters of Oakland, Calif., who has been the cornerstone of the national Outings program for more than 40 years.

Walter A. Starr Award (for continuing support of the Club by a former director): Jim Dougherty of Washington, D.C., who served on the Sierra Club Board of Directors from 1989 to 1992.

Francis P. Farquhar Mountaineering Award (for achievement in mountaineering): Dr. Andrew Smatko of Santa Monica, Calif. Smatko has made more than 1,800 ascents in the Sierra Nevada since 1953 and is the author of a mountaineering guidebook to the High Sierra.

Oliver Kehrlein Award (for outstanding service to the Outings program): Joe Dudek of Paradise, Calif., who recently led his last outing at the age of 85.

Susan E. Miller Award (for outstanding service to Sierra Club chapters): Greg Casini of Denver, Colo.; Barbara Postles of Chapin, South Carolina; and Glenn Torbett of San Diego, Calif.

One Club Award (recognizes people who use outings as a way to instill an interest in conservation and protecting public lands): The California/Nevada Desert Committee. This committee has been running conservation-oriented outings for more than 30 years.

Distinguished Achievement Award (recognizes individuals in public service who have performed a particular action of singular importance): Charles Flowers and Peter Gallagher of the Seminole (Florida) Tribune for their reporting on the destruction of lakebeds and ancient canoes in Newnan's Lake in Florida.

Special Achievement Award (recognizes a single act of importance dedicated to conservation): Rita Alexander of New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; attorney Lesley Blackner of Palm Beach, Fla.; and Shirley Reynolds of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., for their efforts to secure protection for the sea turtles that nest on Volusia County's Atlantic Ocean shore.

Special Service Awards (for strong and consistent commitment to conservation over an extended period of time): Edie and Jim Harmon of Ocotillo, Calif.; Carolyn Chase of San Diego, Calif.; and Rich Johns of Pacifica, Calif.

Electronic Communication Award: The Watershed Radio program developed by the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Newsletter Award: Peak & Prairie (Rocky Mountain Chapter in Colorado).

For information on the banquet, contact Michael Keating at (415) 977-5675;

Photo caption: Poisonous Plants: Robin Way, award-winning photographer, took this photo of poison hemlock and poison oak in Hatton Canyon, a newly designated California state park that was threatened by highway development for decades.

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