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Sierra Club Announces 2001 National Awards

SAN FRANCISCO - Sept. 15, 2001 - A 16-year-old high school student, a doctor who has made more than 1,800 ascents in the Sierra Nevada and the founder of Earth Day were among those receiving national awards from the Sierra Club this year.

The club's top award, the John Muir Award, went to former U. S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day in 1970. Nelson continues to play a leading role in the American conservation movement by serving as counselor of The Wilderness Society.

"Gaylord Nelson has been one of the principal leaders of the American conservation movement for the past 40 years," said Sierra Club President Jennifer Ferenstein.

Michael Dombeck, who served as Chief of the U.S. Forest Service during the Clinton Administration, received the club's Edgar Wayburn Award, which honors service to the environment by a person in government. Dombeck was the primary architect of the Clinton Administration's landmark roadless protection plan as well as other conservation measures.

"Under Mike's leadership, we saw real change in the Forest Service's management of our natural heritage and a stronger emphasis on protection and restoration," Ferenstein said.

Paul Rogers of the San Jose Mercury News received the club's David Brower Award for environmental journalism for his investigative series titled "Cash Cows." The series was the most in-depth look at public lands grazing ever published in a U.S. newspaper. Rogers also has profiled several prominent Sierra Club leaders, including David Brower, who died last year.

The Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award, which honors persons under age 30 who have demonstrated a commitment to the environment, was given to Nathan Wyeth, a 16-year-old high school student from Chevy Chase, Md. Wyeth is executive director of the Montgomery County Student Environmental Activists and also leads the Sierra Student Coalition's Fair Trade Campaign. Wyeth's award included a $2,000 prize from the Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund that the Sierra Student Coalition will use to help further Wyeth's work in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region.

A new award presented by the national Sierra Club - the Environmental Alliance Award - went to the High Desert Committee of the Club's Oregon Chapter. This committee achieved a major victory in October 2000 when President Clinton signed an Act protecting approximately 900,000 acres of Federal land around Steens Mountain and the Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon. Passage of this act followed more than two years of intensive negotiations with other Oregon environmental groups, the Bureau of Land Management, area ranchers and a variety of local, state and national politicians.

The High Desert Committee also will receive $1,000 from the Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund to further its work. The Committee currently is working to promote protection of Oregon's Owyhee Canyon country.

Others receiving Sierra Club awards for 2001 included the following:

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

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

The Raymond Sherwin International Award (for international conservation): Michele Perrault of Lafayette, Calif. Perrault is the Sierra Club's Vice President for International Affairs.

The 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).

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

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

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

The Oliver Kehrlein Award (for outstanding service to the club's Outings program): Joe Dudek of Paradise, Calif. Dudek recently led his last outing for the Sierra Club 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 to parts of the desert impacted by mining, grazing, utility corridors, military training, water developments and off-road vehicles.

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 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).


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