2013 John Muir Conservation Awards
Our 36th consecutive year!
Nominations are open for our 2013 John Muir Conservation Awards! Please submit your entry on or before December 31, 2013 for consideration. Nominations are open in four categories.
Visit our Submit a Nomination page for information and entry forms.
The 2013 awards will be presented at the
John Muir Birthday–Earth Day Celebration
at the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California
April 26, 2014
Lee Stetson, Conservationist of the Year
For 30 years, Lee Stetson has been the preeminent theatrical interpreter of the famous naturalist, John Muir. Lee offers a living Muir, a contemporary presence with an eternal message. He delivers a fusion of thunder, philosophy, and wonderment, entranced by all things Sequioical, angered by fools who would degrade our wilderness. His memorable performances and personal connection has influenced generations, to follow the path of environmental conservation. He also lectures extensively, promotes arts in the National Parks, and was an original member of the Board of Directors of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.. He edited The Wild Muir, a collection of Muir's adventures. Lee has portrayed Muir in several documentaries, including the Ken Burns series The National Parks: America's Best Idea, and was profiled in a PBS documentary entitled "Lee Stetson: The Voice of John Muir".
Dr. L. Martin Griffin, Jr., Legacy Conservation Award
In 1961, Dr. Griffin (Marty), while serving as the President of the Marin Audubon Society, saved one of the largest heron habitats on the West Coast from development by purchasing the 503-acre property known as Canyon Ranch. He helped to establish the nonprofit, Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR), and through ACR continued to purchase valuable wildlife habitat up into Tomales Bay. In 1972, he helped create the Environmental Forum of Marin, a program designed for training "ordinary folks" to become knowledgeable and articulate advocates for the environment. In the 1990s he founded the Russian River Task Force and the Russian River Environmental Forum, co-founded the Friends of the Russian River, and, with his wife Joyce, established the Griffin Russian River Riparian Preserve. His actions have reverberated like ripples on a pond, inspiring positive actions by others.
Divya Karnad, Environmental Education Conservation Award
Through her conservation work in India, Divya Karnad, helped conserve more than 500,000 adult and baby sea turtles through community-based conservation programs and has reached out to over one million members of the public with messages about marine conservation. She built an India-wide network of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and fishing communities interested in marine conservation. In 2009, Divya helped organize India's first student's conference for ecology, Young Ecologists Talk and Interact (YETI), to provide greater exposure of Indian students to ecology and conservation. As an environmental journalist, Divya has reached out to a wide audience, writing articles on marine conservation issues for national and international newspapers, magazines and e-zines, and has created wildlife-based content for the Bangalore-based National Centre for Biological Sciences website. Her work has inspired many budding conservationists.
Pavan Raj Gowda, Youth Environmental Conservation Award
In 2008, when Pavan Raj Gowda was eight years old, he founded Green Kids Now (now a nonprofit) to raise awareness on environmental issues and to take action. He has published two children's books with environmental messages: Two Tales from a Kid and Geckoboy-The Battle of Fracking. He writes for the EPA's student blog, started his own blog on environmental issues, and will contribute to Action for Nature's blog. He serves as an International Reporter for the Primary Perspective Radio in Australia. Pavan also gives presentations at school assemblies and public events. His "Green Star School Program" provides guidelines to help schools obtain the Green Star Award offered by many cities and counties for environmental sustainability. Pavan established the Green Kids Conference to help kids learn about the latest developments in environmental science and to showcase efforts from kids.
Mt. View Sanitary District, Public Agency Conservation Award
The Mt. View Sanitary District was established in 1923 to provide sewer service to unincorporated areas of Martinez, California. The District became the first treatment plant on the West Coast to use treated effluent to create wetland habitat (1974), and pioneered the use of ultraviolet light for effluent disinfection in Northern California (1994), which enabled the District to discontinue use of environmentally hazardous chemicals including chlorine, sulfur dioxide, and anhydrous ammonia. Unlike most wastewater treatment plants, the District's treated effluent flows through a series of marshes, which have become wildlife habitat for more than 200 aquatic and terrestrial species. In partnership with the Lindsey Wildlife Museum, the District created The Wetlands Field Trip for elementary school students in Contra Costa and Solano Counties, which emphasizes pollution prevention and wetlands conservation. In 2003, the District was the first publicly owned treatment works in the San Francisco Bay Area to be certified as a Green Business.
Muir Glen Organic, Business Conservation Award
Named after John Muir, the Muir Glen Organic brand was founded in 1991 by socially committed entrepreneurs with extensive experience in organic agriculture. Muir Glen Organic became the first organic canned tomato company, and all Muir Glen Organic products are USDA certified organic. Muir Glen is one of the few nationally distributed food brands that repurposes its own agricultural waste into organic compost, which results in improved crop yield, energy savings and an ongoing cycle of sustainability. Muir Glen funds research through the nonprofit organization Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and is working in conjunction with the University of California, Davis School of Agriculture to better understand Colony Collapse Disorder in order to improve agricultural practices that support pollinator habitats. Both projects can be recreated on a smaller scale while still creating a significant impact on the environment.
Clifford Dzidonu, Youth Conservationist of the Year
Clifford has been a leader for conservation projects in his native Ghana for about eight years. He began by inspiring and organizing youth in various communities to plant teak and other trees. By 2005, his efforts lead to 60,000 trees being planted. And in 2006, he helped establish a nursery to grow 50,000 teak seedlings; 40,000 were planted nearby and he distributed the rest to other communities. Clifford’s efforts support the forest ecosystem, native wildlife and the local economy in numerous ways, and he has accomplished all of this at a young age. Clifford is only 16 years old.
KIDS for the BAY, Environmental Education Conservation Award
KIDS for the BAY (KftB) targets low-income, underserved elementary schools in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties for hands-on, action-oriented environmental education. Their program goals include turning students on to science, connecting students with nature and empowering them to take environmental action. Students not only learn about environmental issues, they learn that they can make positive change and be a solution for an environmental problem in their neighborhood. Since 1992, KftB has provided environmental education to 52,000 students and more than 6,000 parents.
Wild at Heart, Nonprofit Conservation Award
Wild at Heart is an all-volunteer raptor rescue organization dedicated to the conservation and preservation of Arizona’s native wildlife. Their facilities are always open to assist raptors needing medical treatment. Their projects include burrowing owl habitat restoration and active relocation of owls threatened by development. The organization also has a program to bring the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl back from the brink of extinction. Wild at Heart is a strong proponent of education by taking non-releasable raptors to schools and events, and by providing and a Junior Volunteer program.
Back to the Roots, Business Conservation Award
Back to the Roots developed a way to use the tons of coffee-ground waste generated daily as a medium for a nutritious and popular food product: specialty mushrooms. Founded by two UC Berkeley students, the business collects 20,000 lbs. of coffee grounds per week and produces 500 pounds of fresh mushrooms, sold through farmers’ markets and Whole Foods stores. The coffee medium replaces wood chips, saving trees and diverting methane-producing waste from the landfill. The Oakland-based business spreads the message of sustainability, and to “rethink the standard way of doing business.”
Jay Holcomb, Conservationist of the Year
Jay Holcomb’s 24 years of leadership at the International Bird Rescue Research Center has been vital to its work of rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife in crisis around the world. The Center has rescued birds and other wildlife from more than 200 oil spills—including the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig explosion off the Louisiana coast in 2010—saving tens of thousands wild animals.
NatureBridge, Environmental Education Conservation Award
NatureBridge inspires youth to have a personal connection to the natural world and take responsible actions to sustain it. NatureBridge is the largest residential environmental education partner of the National Park Service, with four environmental education campuses serving more than 40,000 participants annually: Yosemite Institute, Headlands Institute, Olympic Park Institute, and Santa Monica Mountains Institute.
Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Nonprofit Conservation Award
The Lindsay Wildlife Museum is a critical area resource for wildlife rehabilitation, conservation and environmental education. For more than 50 years, the Museum has fostered the next generation of environmentally aware citizens, and provided medical services and rehabilitation for injured or orphaned wild animals. Each year, the Lindsay provides informative classes and trips, offers programs to schools, treats more than 5,000 native wild animals and hosts 100,000 visitors.
Beaver Solutions LLC, Business Conservation Award
Beaver Solutions LLC provides humane, ecological solutions to conflicts between beaver activities and humans. The company installs flow devices in beaver dams to protect against flooding while allowing the beavers to remain in their environment. The company also educates the public about beavers’ importance as a keystone species providing essential wetlands for fish, birds and mammals.
Jeff Alvarez, Conservationist of the Year
Jeff Alvarez was recognized for his volunteer work on behalf of wildlife and the environment. He has trained professional peers in federal permitting issues for special-status species, lent his expertise to the Agricultural and Natural Resource Land Trust of Contra Costa County, the Biological Field Studies Association, the Mt. View Sanitation District, and many others. He is currently fulfilling a ten-year volunteer commitment to assisting CASA Avian Support Alliance in Belize.
David Loeb, Environmental Education Conservation Award
David Loeb is the founder and driving force behind accessible, high-quality publications about the San Francisco Bay Area regional environment. Since 2001, Loeb has served as Editor and Publisher of Bay Nature magazine and Executive Director of the nonprofit Bay Nature Institute. The impact of providing accurate and interesting environmental information to policymakers and agencies as well as individuals is significant.
East Bay Regional Park District, Nonprofit or Public Agency Conservation Award
The East Bay Regional Park District received its award for 75 years of protecting and stewarding land, and its outstanding recreational and educational opportunities for the public. Created in 1934 in the depths of the Great Depression, the park district has grown to be the largest regional park district in the nation, spanning 100,000 acres with 65 parks and more than 1,150 miles of trails. Six interpretive centers offer educational programs throughout the year.
T. Marzetti Company, Business Conservation Award
The T. Marzetti Company, maker of salad dressings, dips and other food items, has reduced its carbon footprint by reducing energy, waste and water consumption. The company also installed more efficient lighting, reduced packaging, improved shipment efficiency to reduce fuel consumption and reviews the carbon cost of acquiring ingredients for its products. These efforts are a model for a sustainable future.
Amy Meyer, Conservationist of the Year
Amy Meyer was one of the founders of People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which led to the Congressional authorization of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1972. She has mobilized thousands of citizens and myriad groups to support the establishment of the GGNRA
Brett Plater, Environmental Education Conservation Award
Brett Plater founded and directed the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Endangered Species Big Year in 2007-2008. This innovative, hands-on program raised awareness and appreciation for the large concentrations of endangered species within the GGNRA.
John Muir’s Birthplace, Nonprofit or Public Agency Conservation Award
John Muir’s Birthplace in Dunbar, Scotland was established as a visitor education center and much more. Birthplace staff work to provide visitors and community members with an increased environmental awareness by inspiring them to follow in John Muir’s footsteps, care for the environment and practice sustainable living.
Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Business Conservation Award
PG&E received the award for its Environmental Stewardship Program. The company has forged a number of partnerships to permanently protect open space, fund projects at California parks, conserve and enhance habitat, and other endeavors.
Lennie Roberts, Conservationist of the Year
Lennie Roberts serves as the San Mateo County Advocate for the Committee for Green Foothills, a volunteer position for this influential nonprofit organization. Lennis Roberts was honored for her tireless advocacy for the environment, which echoes John Muir’s lifelong work.
Rona Zollinger, Environmental Education Conservation Award
Educator Rona Zollinger was honored for her creation of an innovative program serving at-risk youth in Martinez, California, which she heads through the Environmental Studies Academy. The students are involved in major habitat restoration projects, study and propagate native plants, and deliver lessons to younger students about issues such as recycling, native plants and local ecology.
GreenInfo Network, Nonprofit Conservation Award
GreenInfo Network provides high-quality GIS mapping and analytical services to public agencies and nonprofit organizations. GreenInfo Network was honored for their services, which are invaluable in helping environmental and public agencies reach their goals by providing unique and essential tools for preserving our natural resources.
Bank of America, Business Conservation Award
Bank of America, a world-wide financial institution, was honored for its 10-year, $20 billion environmental initiative, which encourages development of environmentally sustainable business practices through lending, investing, philanthropy and the creation of environmental products and services.
Dr. Bonnie Gisel
Curator of the Sierra Club Le Conte Memorial Lodge, Yosemite National Park, honored for her contributions to John Muir through her work in Yosemite, written works about John Muir, activities with the John Muir Mountain Day Camp, and organization of the 2001 John Muir: Family and Friends and Adventure conference sponsored by the University of the Pacific.
Igor and Shirley Skaredoff
Honored for their contributions to the restoration of Alhambra Creek, leadership in Friends of Alhambra Creek and the Watershed Forum, and activities with the Alhambra Creek Restoration and Environmental Education Collaborative.
Honored as the designer of the John Muir-Yosemite California State Quarter conceptual design.
Honored for her work at the Lindsey Wildlife Museum.
Mike and Cecil Williams
Owners of the Wild Birds Unlimited store in Pleasant Hill, honored for educating Bay Area residents about the value and importance of backyard wildlife habitat.
Vacaville Mayor David Fleming, Vacaville City Manager John Thompson, previous Dixon Mayor Don Erickson and previous Dixon City Manager David Harris
Honored for efforts resulting in a Northern California Interstate 80 greenbelt preserving farmland against urban growth.
Honored for his efforts with Save Mount Diablo.
Honored for contributions about Muir and the environment as outdoor writer for the Contra Costa Times.
B. “Moose” Peterson
Honored for wildlife photography promoting conservation.
Richard F. Dale
Honored for his work with the Sonoma Ecology Center.
Honored for efforts establishing John Muir Day, the John Muir Day Study Guide, the John Muir Exhibit Internet Website, and the Sierra Club John Muir Education Project.
Justice Wakefield Taylor
Honored as a founder of the John Muir Memorial Association who remained active in the group for many years.
Christina N. Batt
Honored for her preservation efforts through the Martinez Land Trust, now called the Muir Heritage Land Trust.
Phillip Berry and Michelle Perrault
Honored for their numerous outstanding environmental protection efforts through the Sierra Club.
Susan Watson and her late husband Bob Watson
Honored as the President of Save Mount Diablo and coordinator of the Technical Advisory Committee for Lassen Volcanic Park and Forest.
Al B. McNabney
Honored as the Vice-President and conservation Chair of Mt. Diablo Chapter of the Audubon Society.
William and Genevieve Sattler
Honored as co-founders of Save Mount Diablo and active in the County Park Council in the 1960s.
Representative George Miller
Honored as an outstanding environmental leader in Congress.
William Penn Mott, Jr.
Honored for his accomplishments as Director of the National Park Service and as long-time Director of California State Parks.
Honored as a volunteer naturalist for Mount Diablo Chapter of the Audubon Society and author of Birding Northern California.
Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, honored for her efforts in revitalization of Martinez waterfront.
Louis and Mildren Stein
Honored for work in purchasing and restoring the Martinez Adobe, part of the John Muir National Historic Site.
Henry and Faire Sax
Honored for acquiring (in 1955), preserving, and restoring the Muir home and arousing public interest in establishing it as a National Historic Site.
State legislator, honored for his efforts in protecting Mount Diablo.
Al and Mary Burton
Honored as long-time leaders in establishing a county park program for Contra Costa County, including organizing the Contra Costa Park Council and addition of county parks to the East Bay Regional Parks District.
Honored for his accomplishments in adding lands for parks in the East Bay Regional Parks District.
Mary L. Bowerman
Honored as author of Flowering Plants and Ferns of Mount Diablo and active in the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, and the California Native Plant Society.
Dr. Edgar Wayburn
Past President of the Sierra Club who was instrumental in saving millions of acres of wilderness in Alaska and many California park lands.
Honored for his contributions through the local Sierra Club chapter.