Michigan Chapter Group and Chapter members are asked each year to submit names of individuals or institutions that have made outstanding contributions to the work of protecting Michigan's environment. The Michigan Chapter Executive Committee reviews and selects the winners and each fall, during the Michigan Chapter's Annual Retreat, award winners are announced by the Awards Committee Chair. See a partial list of the current Award winners below (additional awards will be announced later in the year). See a complete list of past award winners here.
2013 Award Winners
Sylvania Award: Dave Errickson, Central Michigan Group
Dave Errickson is making a big difference after a short time as a Sierra Club leader. Dave worked successfully to get Sierra Club’s endorsed candidates elected in 2012, including helping turn Eaton County’s State Representative seat green. He regularly meets with local and state officials to inform them of Sierra Club’s issues and concerns. But not all of Dave’s Sierra Club engagement is work! After meeting his wife on a national Sierra Club outing seven years ago, Dave has stepped up to organize and lead outings for the Central Michigan Group.
Heather Miller of Alden has been instrumental in the effort to run and elect clean energy board of director candidates for the Great Lakes Energy Cooperative (GLE) board. GLE is a power distribution co-op of Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative which is proposing a new coal plant in Rogers City. Since 2011, Heather has recruited and coordinated GLE members to circulate ballot petitions, vet Board candidates, and turn out the vote for clean energy supporters. Heather’s commitment to a clean energy future and democratic process in her co-op is helping create a clean energy voting block in her electric co-op and sending a strong message to Wolverine that their members are not happy with their current fossil fuel dependent trajectory.
White Pine Award: Heather Miller
Alex Sagady Cyber Punk Award: cofounders of respectmyplanet.org
A difficult problem with our state’s process of permitting natural gas and oil drilling companies is that there is no requirement or mechanism for public participation, or even to easily get information about what may be happening in our communities.
Three Kalkaska County fracktivists developed a monumentally important website to help meet that need. Matt Wandel is the talented Webmaster behind this project that was developed to share almost every official document that is available about the state’s High Volume Slickwater Horizontal Hydraulically Fractured natural gas and oil wells. Paul Brady and Jacque Rose collect the photos, videos, and documents that are key to telling how this fossil fuel industry’s impacts are manifesting on the ground in Michigan communities. Website users can access the imagery and official agency documents, and can even upload their own photos and information for others to access also.
The RespectMyPlanet.org website has become an important “Go To” website for fracking information in Michigan. Congratulations, and thank you to Matt Wandel, Paul Brady, and Jacque Rose!
Tackling fracking was probably not at the top of Craig Brainerd’s plans when he became involved in the West Michigan Group a few years ago. But as Chapter Chair Jean Gramlich points out in selecting Craig to be this year’s winner of the Chair’s Award, Craig has been making a major difference in reaching out and educating the public about the threat this fossil fuel extraction technology poses to the Great Lakes State. Craig has been an active member of the Michigan Chapter Beyond Natural Gas Committee, and decided to get out to talk with people all over the state with his Fracking Road Show. Craig’s passion for protecting our water and land has also led to him helping with the formation of the new South West Michigan Group as well.
Chair’s Award: Craig Brainerd
Beginning in April, 2013 Keith has written a comprehensive and insightful series of articles on Canadian oil transport company Enbridge’s pipeline system and plans to ship tar sands oil from a proposed facility in Superior, Wisconsin via tanker or pipeline to facilities in Detroit and Cleveland. Additional articles have included a follow-up on the tar sands pipeline failure that polluted the Kalamazoo River in Marshall. Mr. Matheny has also covered ongoing issues of natural gas safety. In a time of decreased coverage of the environment in the mainstream press, Mr. Matheny’s reporting is a welcome exception.
Environmental Journalism in Print: Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press
Nepessing Group: Terry Reechko
Terry has been an active participant in Flint River Cleanups and Picture Rocks Service Outings. Terry also installed road signs on the bridges crossing the Flint River and is willing to volunteer at Sierra Club Nepessing’s booth/table/tent when needed.
Huron Valley Group: John Ford
John Ford’s enthusiasm and dedication has made him a welcome addition to the Huron Valley Group. This year John stepped up to organize buses to take activists to the February "Forward on Climate Rally” in Washington, DC, assuring that more than 100 people from Michigan could attend. John has been an active participant in Lobby Day, including helping with car pools, and his personal knowledge of water contamination makes him a compelling citizen lobbyist for our issues.
(note: not all awards are given each year):
Michigan Chapter Awards Categories and Descriptions
Jane Elder Environmentalist of the Year Award
In recognition of exceptional leadership in environmental protection in Michigan. This is the highest award presented by the Michigan Chapter.
Presented by the Chapter Chair to honor a Michigan Chapter leader for exceptional work in support of Sierra Club's work in Michigan.
Alex Sagady Cyber-Punk Award
This award is given to recognize outstanding efforts by an volunteer activist to raise awareness and disseminate information about Michigan's environment by the use of electronic media.
To recognize a dedicated long-time Sierra Club member. Issued only once in celebration of the Sierra Club's 100th Anniversary.
Bunyan Bryant Award
Awarded to recognize outstanding leadership in the field of environmental justice.
Burton V. Barnes Award
Established in 2004 to recognize academic excellence.
Established in 1993 to recognize outstanding efforts by or with students.
Environmental Journalism Award
For environmental reporting or editorials. As of 2000, we have both a broadcast award and a print journalism award.
Life of the Party Award
This award is given to gratefully acknowledge those volunteers who take seriously the Sierra Club's credo to enjoy the wild places of the Earth.
Marlene Fluharty Award
This award is given to a Chapter member who has served the Sierra Club on at least two levels (Group, Chapter &/or National) over an extended period of time and has made significant contributions or is responsible for a major project which has significantly benefited the Club.
This is given to Chapter and Group volunteers and/or leaders who have contributed a significant amount of time and effort to the Club. No Service Awards will be given to active Chapter Executive Committee members except for a specific achievement or contribution.
Established in 1990, this award recognizes a Sierra Club volunteer who is new on the scene but who has already demonstrated great enthusiasm, hard work and dedication.
Vince Smith Award
Established in 1992, this award recognizes outstanding contributions to the Chapter outings program.
Virginia Prentice Award
This award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the preservation of wilderness and/or the protection of public lands in Michigan. This award is open to both members and non-members.
White Pine Award
Given to a non-member, organization or group that has shown extraordinary dedication to protection of the environment.
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