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West County environmentalists recognized

Camille Escovedo, SONOMA WEST TIMES & NEWS

Sonoma County Conservation Council’s “Environmentalist of the Year” award to Rick Coates, Chris Poehlmann and Maya Khosla

The Sonoma County Conservation Council bestowed this year’s Ernestine I. Smith “Environmentalist of the Year” award upon three local luminaries of the environmental justice movement at its holiday networking and environmental awards ceremony Friday, co-hosted with the Sonoma Group of the Sierra Club.

The council named Maya Khosla, Rick Coates and Chris Poehlmann as its three “forest champions.” Khosla is a wildlife biologist, filmmaker and poet laureate of Sonoma County whose recent Legacy Project sought to address the 2017 Tubbs Fire and regeneration with poetry in open spaces, as stated by her website. Meanwhile, the careers of Coates and Poehlmann draw them deep into the West County forests and often the courtroom, maneuvering the legal system to prevent logging projects that jeopardize regional watersheds and forests.

“Not all grassroots organizers are really good at the technical bureaucracy of multi-page permits, understanding the fine details, but these two men have been really, really good at both of those, and try to do as much as possible within the regulatory framework,” according to Wendy Krupnick, council secretary and a member of the annual event’s organizing committee. “But occasionally, when that does not work, the only avenue left is a lawsuit.”

She said the Sonoma County Conservation Council (SCCC) receives nominations from the broader environmental justice community for review by a subcommittee of primarily members of the SCCC’s board of directors. The awardees receive a certification from the California state legislature honoring their contributions to environmental advocacy, Krupnick said.
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Teri Shore of Greenbelt Alliance recognized as Environmentalist of the Year by SCCC

Teri Shore, a Sonoma Valley resident who spearheaded the 2016 drive to pass Measure K which tripled the amount of community separator open space protected by law, has been named Environmentalist of the Year by the Sonoma County Conservation Council.
She will receive the Ernestine I. Smith Award at the Sonoma County Conservation Action annual gala, on June 10, where Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will be the featured speaker.
“It’s really moving to be being recognized by the environment community, which is my tribe,” said Shore, the North Bay Regional Director of the Greenbelt Alliance. Shore is also a former reporter for the Sonoma Index-Tribune, where she worked from 1988 to 1990.
But environmentalism has been her mission since 1996, says Shore, when she became “outraged” by a state initiative that would have allowed trophy hunting of mountain lions. “I did volunteer work to stop the initiative – I helped set up forums at the library, I wrote letters to the editor, I worked with the community on the initiative, and we defeated it,” she remembers with satisfaction. “I realized that’s what I wanted to do with my life, and I quit my job and decided to dedicate the rest of my life to working for the environment.”
She began her green education working as a canvasser for Greenpeace International, then directed oceans campaigns at Friends of the Earth, and served as program director at Turtle Island Restoration Network.
She became the regional director of the Greenbelt Alliance in 2015, and set to work codifying an increased amount of acreage to set aside as protected “community separators,” under a program the county supervisors had set up in the mid-1980s with first Sonoma County General Plan. “Sonoma County has been a leader for a long time in protecting open space,” said Shore.
The 2016 initiative that Shore worked to pass reaffirmed voter protection for the system, meaning it would take a majority vote to overturn protected status for any community separator – an area between the cities and towns that are preserved as agricultural land or open space. The initiative also increased the total size of community separators from some 17,000 acres to 53,576 acres of open space and farmlands, protected from subdivision and sprawl.
Read more at: Teri Shore of Greenbelt Alliance recognized with award | Sonoma Index-Tribune | Sonoma, CA

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Environmentalists honored for their work

Enviro Updates
Four local awardees were honored at the annual Environmental Awards Dinner on March 16.
The Environmentalist of the Year is Stephen Fuller-Rowell. Stephen is a co-founder of the Sonoma County Water Coalition, a key alliance of water activists throughout the county, and an active member of the Southeast Greenway Campaign.
The award for Environmental Education Program went to STRAW, Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed. STRAW trains teachers how to teach watershed restoration and has organized around 35,000 students to restore over 450 sites in the North Bay and 30 miles of habitat. Its founder and director is Laurette Rogers.
Anne Teller and her late husband Otto, have farmed organically and sustainably at Oak Hill Farm near Glen Ellen since 1955. Anne and her family, who have carried on the tradition of environmental commitment, received the Ernestine I Smith award for Lifetime Environmental Achievement.
Wendy Krupnick received a special award as ‘Queen Bee’ of the environmental community. Wendy is a hard-working member of countless groups, she constantly connects and motivates volunteers and nonprofits. She has a special interest in sustainable agriculture and habitat conservation and co-writes a gardening blog for iGROW.
Una Glass delivered a tribute to John Kramer, a valued and long-time member of the environmental community, who died in February.
The Awards Dinner is put on jointly by the Sonoma County Conservation Council and the Sonoma Group of the Sierra Club.

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Environmentalists recognized at Environmental Awards Dinner 2013

The Sonoma County Conservation Council, the Sierra Club Sonoma Group and more than 160 activists gathered Sunday night at the Santa Rosa’s Veteran’s Auditorium to honor 5 deserving individuals.

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey received the Ernestine I. Smith Lifetime Environmental Commitment Award. Tom Roth, Chief of Staff for Senator Noreen Evans and formerly Senior Policy Advisor for Woolsey, eloquently accepted on her behalf. Denny Rosatti, Executive Director of Sonoma County Conservation Action, received The Environmentalist Of The Year Award for his amazing leadership in the last year. Ken Wells of Sonoma County Trails Council and the Sierra Club Sonoma Group received the GrassRoots Trailblazer Award for his work over the years on behalf of our trails and forests as well as reducing the amount of discards our County sends to the landfill. SRJC Student Matt Lopez received the Environmental Youth award for his stellar progress from a novice volunteer into an enthusiastic and inspiring summer counselor with Landpaths Owl Camp Summer Camp.
In a special presentation, the late Jay Halcomb received a Special Recognition Award for his passionate commitment and outstanding leadership on behalf of our magnificent North Coast forests. As Chair of the Sierra Club’s Forest Protection Committee, Jay led its efforts to preserve forests from unsustainable logging and from forest to vineyard conversion. Most recently, his astute advocacy was instrumental in the Chapter’s negotiation of a successful settlement with the Bohemian Club that preserved the remaining stand of Bohemian Grove old growth redwoods from logging. He also served the Club with great distinction as Redwood Chapter Chair from 2008 until his death.
These awards are presented each March. Nomination requests are sent out starting in early January. The SCCC is particularly interested in nominations of folks not in the mainstream. Perhaps you will make a nomination next year. Details and award history can be found at For more about Jay Halcomb visit the Sierra Club Sonoma Group website at

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36th Annual Sonoma County Environmental Awards Dinner

Saturday, Mar. 3, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Sebastopol Veteran’s Auditorium • 282 S. High Street, Sebastopol
Paloma Pavel, President of Earth House Center and Exec. Dir. of Breakthrough Communities, will speak on Building Healthy, Just & Sustainable Communities in the Face of Climate Change. There will be a silent auction and raffle and a gourmet dinner.
Tickets are $40, $50 after 2/20 at
Benefits the Sierra Club and Environmental Center of Sonoma County
A zero-waste and low impact event Please carpool!

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Nominations needed for the 2012 Sonoma County Environmental Awards

2012 Sonoma County Environmental Awards
Sponsored by the Sonoma County Conservation Council
Nomination form and list of previous awardees and nominees: or
Here is your chance to pay homage to the Sonoma County environmentalists and programs whose work you most respect – especially those that are not well known. Though the nomination form is available via email and regular mail, we request you submit nominations via the web site listed above. You will need contact information for your nominee plus a paragraph or two on why you think this person or program deserves to be honored. The nominations deadline is 2/6/2012.
Portia Sinnott, SCCC Awards Committee Chair (2002-2012)
Executive Director of LITE Initiatives,