The 1989 Sol Feinstone Environmental Awards winners have been announced by the awards' board of directors. The recipients of this year's five prizes include residents of Michigan, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Alabama.
The Following will receive a check for $1,000 and citation of accomplishment which comprise the Feinstone Award for their volunteer contributions to the environmental movement.
The 14th annual awards were made possible through an endowment to ESF by the late Sol Feinstone, a renowned historian and alumnus of the College, to recognize and honor people for their volunteer contributions toward a betterment of society.
George Griffith and Arthur Neumann
George Griffith and Arthur Neumann are jointly honored for founding Trout Unlimited, a nationwide organization of 58,000 volunteers that will celebrate its 30th Anniversary in 1989. The concern that led to this development began with the declining coldwater fisheries in their native Michigan, while state biologists focused only on fish hatcheries to reverse the trend. It became apparent to Griffith and Neumann that a grassroots organization that could undertake volunteer projects and bring political pressure on the agency was the only answer to watershed management, pollution abatement, and stream improvement issues. At great personal sacrifice, they nurtured Trout Unlimited, expanding its horizons and programs, first statewide and then across the nation. Today, TU is the most effective force in the U.S. devoted to the preservation and management of coldwater fisheries, and is starting similar programs in a number of foreign countries.
Keith Lewis led the effort to create an open space plan and program for Block Island, an area of intense development pressure. He contributed $1.2 million in land and conservation restrictions to save a 217-acre farm from subdivision and development, thereby insuring the first major fund-raising project for land acquisition in Rhode Island. He also carried to completion a $1.95 million project to save Rodman's Hollow, 180 acres of oceanfront. Jeopardizing his employment, he volunteered a year's time to secure enactment of a real estate transfer tax for Block Island, the second time in the state's history that the Legislature approved such a tax. Simultaneously, he became the unpaid president of the Block Island Conservancy, and the unpaid chairman of the Block Island Land Trust. Currently, 16 percent of Block Island (more than 1,000 acres) is protected, and those numbers promise to increase as programs such as The Conservation Foundation's "Successful Communities" are brought to the islanders by Lewis.
Clifford Messinger for more than 15 years has contributed leadership and management skills to natural areas, wetland protection, improved water quality, and the protection of endangered species in the U.S. and more recently in the international arena. Appointed to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board in 1975, he emerged as a leader in a land acquisition program, and later chaired the Board advancing the sensitive issues of endangered resources, and coyote/wolves, and helped to save the ecologically-significant Kickapoo River Valley from a proposed dam. Serving on the Wisconsin Board of The Nature Conservancy, and TNC's National Board of Governors as organizer and fundraiser, he launched the Wisconsin Land n Preservation Fund and has raised millions of dollars for the organization, and has made large personal contributions including the 390-acre Bass Lake Preserve. He played a key role in the Wisconsin nongame tax check-off program; he chairs The Nature Conservancy's International Committee, and is responsible for the rapid growth of that program in several South and Central American countries.
Judie Neilson created and organized the Get The Drift-And Bag It" campaign to remove dangerous plastic materials that threaten wildlife from beaches. As a volunteer in 1984 she organized the first clean-up of 325 miles of Oregon's beaches utilizing other volunteers and won corporate support for all of the costs, including lunches. With the help of a video and other public education efforts, the movement spread rapidly to other states and nations. In 1988, all 22 coastal states in the U.S. held clean-ups, with 46,000 volunteers collecting some 986 tons of marine debris. An effective citizen's guide booklet has helped spread this program from Maine to Hawaii, and to many foreign countries. Prior to 1984, Neilson was a volunteer activist in a number of areas including the Sierra Club's legal battle over the construction of the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, projects of the Audubon Society, and as the volunteer administrative assistant at the Oregon Environmental Council. She chairs the marine Debris Committee of the Pacific Marine Fisheries Commission, and has become a world authority on the dangers and clean-up of "floatable trash."
John Randolph formed the Alabama Wilderness Coalition and then spearheaded the drive that took nearly 10 years to add 14,000 acres to two wilderness areas in Alabama, and to designate 52 miles of the Sipsey River as a Wild and Scenic River. He overcame great resistance from highly placed politicians and the public in general by orchestrating the efforts of such state and national organizations as the Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and the Audubon Society. When legislation stalled in Congress, he used his legal skills to challenge the U.S. Forest Service's land management plan for Alabama to buy time for grassroots support to build, and President Reagan signed the bill into law in October, 1988. Specifically, he is credited with directing the coalition, preparing educational and publicity materials that dramatized the significance of wilderness and the two areas in question, conducting tours, developing a long list of important supporters, and lobbying politicians on all levels. The five recipients of 1989 Feinstone Awards will be honored this summer and fall in ceremonies coordinated by the College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
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