NRCM Conservation Leadership Awards
Maine is known and loved for its beautiful lands, lakes, rivers, and coastline—and we owe a lot to the individuals who have helped protect these natural resources. Each year, the Natural Resources Council of Maine recognizes several of those who have made significant, lasting contributions to safeguarding Maine's environment by presenting them with a Conservation Leadership Award. As part of our Conservation Leadership Awards, we include an award that is given to a person or people who are nominated and voted on by NRCM members and the public, our People's Choice Award.
NRCM's 2022 Conservation Leadership Awards were presented to the following individuals and groups—click on their name to read the award citation presented by NRCM staff.
Dr. Steve Kress, Lifetime Achievement, for his pioneering work restoring and managing breeding colonies of Atlantic Puffins and other seabird species, in Maine and around the world, and for raising awareness about conservation and current threats to the world’s ecosystems. (Listen to Dr. Kress' speech and watch video highlights of all of this year's awardees.)
Frenchman Bay United, Conservation Leadership Award, for leading the campaign in opposition to an industrial fish farm in Frenchman Bay that would pose a serious threat to the environment, surrounding communities, and fishing families. (Read remarks by Ted O'Meara on behalf of FBU.)
Troy Moon and Julie Rosenbach, Conservation Leadership Award, for leading sustainability efforts in Portland and South Portland, including development of “One Climate Future,” a comprehensive climate and sustainability plan for both cities, one of the most ambitious local climate plans in the country.
Dr. Robin Hadlock Seeley, Conservation Leadership Award, for her work to ensure the protection of rockweed, a keystone species found on the Maine coast, and her leadership in the successful effort to ban industrial mining in Pembroke. (Read Robin's remarks.)
This year’s People’s Choice Award recipient is Don’t Waste ME of Old Town, for advocating for policies that protect communities most at risk from the negative impacts of waste facilities, including their recent work to close the out-of-state waste loophole in Maine law.
Read Senior Director of Advocacy and Interim CEO Pete Didisheim's remarks from our 2022 Conservation Leadership Awards.
Past NRCM Conservation Leadership Awards Recipients
- John Banks (Orono), Lifetime Achievement Award, for his countless contributions to the protection of natural resources on behalf of the Penobscot Nation, with a special focus on restoring water quality, fisheries, and connections among people and nature
- Ivan Fernandez (Orono), Conservation Leadership Award, for his leadership as one of Maine’s top climate scientists, providing policy-makers and the public with cutting-edge information about our changing climate, including as a member of the Maine Climate Council (Read Ivan's remarks)
- Laura Marston (South Portland), Conservation Leadership Award, for advocating for and pioneering new ways to reduce waste and encourage reuse through her business, throughout her community, and across Maine (Read Laura's remarks)
- Sam Saltonstall (Brunswick), People’s Choice Award, for almost two decades of tireless advocacy for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate change mitigation (Read Sam's remarks)
This year's awards were held via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the full awards presentation on YouTube.
- Aram Calhoun (Amherst) for her expertise and leadership in the effort to protect Maine's vernal pools, including as a scientific expert supporting our work to stop the CMP corridor project
- Cathy Johnson (Alna), Lifetime Achievement Award, for her tireless advocacy in defense of Maine's North Woods, and for her ability to inspire and galvanize support for wild places among NRCM members, coalition partners, and communities across Maine (Read Cathy’s remarks)
- Vaughan Woodruff (Pittsfield) for his tireless efforts, at the Legislature and throughout Maine, to move our state toward a clean energy future, create clean energy jobs for Maine people, and protect western Maine from the CMP corridor
- Eric Sherman (Greenville), People’s Choice Award, for his tireless efforts on the No CMP Corridor campaign ranging from gathering petition signatures to delivering signs to fundraising and keeping others informed, and for his dedication and hard work for the greater good of Maine's North Woods (Read Eric’s remarks)
- Jon Lund (Hallowell), Lifetime Achievement Award, for his decades of service to Maine’s environment and his advocacy for the restoration of Maine’s rivers and native fisheries
- Liz Caruso (Caratunk) for tireless advocacy in her community and across the state against the proposed CMP transmission line (Read Liz's remarks)
- Siri Pierce and SolaRISE (Portland) for involvement in SolaRISE, a strong, successful coalition of students and staff from Casco Bay, Deering, and Portland high schools advocating for providing solar energy to Portland schools (Read SolaRISE's remarks)
- Award also presented to: Yusur Jasim, Lucy Medd, Aimee Ishimwe, Brianna Holston, Lilliana Frantz, Lucia Daranyi, and Lily Carrigan
- Sandi Howard (Caratunk), People’s Choice Award, for her dedication to administering the Say NO to NECEC Facebook group and organizing one of the groups of intervenors in the CMP corridor proceedings at DEP and LUPC (Read Sandi's remarks)
- Horace “Hoddy” Hildreth (Falmouth), Lifetime Achievement Award, for more than four decades of public service in conservation and as a business voice for the environment
- Sandy and Ole Jaeger (Georgetown) for exemplifying an informed and highly engaged citizenry necessary for holding their elected officials accountable (Read Sandy’s remarks upon accepting their award.)
- Bill Mook (Walpole) for putting his real-life experience as a shellfish grower and business owner into advocacy work for clean water and a healthy climate
- Robin Robinson (Brunswick), People’s Choice Award, for creating a flourishing online educational community of people who share photos and information about all aspects of Maine’s wild birds, including threats to their habitats and opportunities to make a difference
- David Courtemanch (Mt. Vernon), Lifetime Achievement Award, for his deep knowledge of and dedication to protecting Maine’s waters
- "I am humbled because I never really think of myself as a passionate advocate for the environment. Certainly not in the frame of the other awardees that have come before me. But my passion has been to learn about the natural world, to figure out the science behind it all, and especially to learn more and better understand the living world that is around us. That is what I really think is the foundation for how we act. As this moment in time, when science seems to be having a diminishing value, and some out there are either frightened by science, or prefer to avoid it, I guess I am particularly gratified that this award comes at this time to me. Thank you very much.” - Dave Courtemanch
- Tony Giambro and Travis Ritchie (South Paris) of Paris Autobarn, for their outstanding citizen and business leadership on climate and energy issues
- “It’s hard for me to believe that what we are doing at the Paris Auto Barn is so special to warrant such a prestigious award, but I am deeply honored to receive it. I look forward to the day when businesses who put people and planet first are the norm, rather than the exception. Thank you.” - Tony Giambro
- “Tony and I were in Germany just last week for an electric vehicle symposium, and I was amazed at the advancements they have made. It makes me optimistic for the future. From the air, you could not count all of the wind turbines spinning in the breeze. In every small village, there were houses from the 1600’s with solar panels on the roof. From sustainable energy to transportation, each of these small moves make and impact. It is possible, just make the moves and we can advance as a society.” - Travis Ritchie
- Martha Spiess (Freeport) for her work as a citizen activist/videographer volunteering hundreds of hours of video production for environmental protection
- "I just wanted to say that I am part of a network. I have worked with a lot of people in this room, you know who you are. So thank you. I also wanted to say that NRCM is absolutely amazing. They do terrific work and a lot of members are doing amazing things. Thank you." - Martha Spiess
- Addie Farmer and Lainey Randall (Portland), People’s Choice Award, for their work to keep plastics and other pollution out of Casco Bay
- “We learned a lot during this project, but the biggest lesson is that all of us can make a difference in the health of our ocean, lakes and rivers. We can do it one plastic bit, one cigarette butt, and one piece of garbage at a time. We hope you will join us when you can and pick up marine debris when you see it. Thanks so much for this meaningful award.” — Lainey Randall and Addie Farmer
- The Quimby/St. Clair family for their generosity, vision, and commitment to creating the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
- Marsha Donahue, Gail Fanjoy, Anita Mueller, and Matt Polstein for their tireless efforts to raise awareness and build support for the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
- Penobscot River Restoration Trust (Penobscot Nation, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Maine Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, and NRCM) for significantly improving access to nearly 2,000 miles of habitat for eleven species of native sea-run fish, with no net loss of hydropower
- Stephanie Larouche, on behalf of the Larouche family (Old Town), People’s Choice Award, for the family’s commitment to wildlife protection and habitat conservation as well as environmental education for children and adults through the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge
- Bob Cummings (Phippsburg), Lifetime Achievement Award, for his extraordinary contributions to the conservation of Maine lands
- Susan Davies (Liberty), for helping protect Maine from mining pollution
- Phil Coupe and Fortunat Mueller (Portland) for their vision and leadership in moving Maine toward a clean energy future.
- Bonnie Pooley (Bethel), People’s Choice Award, for her outstanding success in engaging young people in the work of protecting Maine’s environment. (Read poem written and recited by Bonnie for the occasion)
2014 – first year name changed to “Conservation Leadership Awards”
- Jim and Kathy Wellehan (Auburn), Lifetime Achievement Award, for demonstrating that what is good for the environment is good for business.
- Lorette Adams (Easton), Alice Bolstridge (Presque Isle), Gail Maynard (Woodland), and Shelly Mountain (Mapleton) for their unwavering determination to ensure that Maine implements strong, commonsense regulations to protect our waters, wildlife, and citizens from dangerous mining pollution.
- Peter Kallin (Rome) and Peter Lowell (Bridgton) for their tireless efforts to protect the water quality of Maine’s lakes.
- Robert Godfrey (Eastport), People’s Choice Award, for his perseverance in protecting the beauty and heritage of Downeast Maine by leading the grassroots organization, Save Passamaquoddy Bay.
- Tar sand activists in the towns of Casco, Harrison, Otisfield, and Waterford, Environmental Award, for their hard work defending the Crooked River and Sebago Lake watersheds by leading efforts to pass a municipal resolution in opposition to sending tar sands through Maine’s crude oil pipeline. This also includes the members of Protect South Portland for extraordinary efforts putting a citizen initiative on the November and working to pass it, in an effort to protect their waterfront and keep it from becoming a major export facility for tar sands oil.
- Paul Bisulca, Environmental Award, for his exceptional efforts to reopen the St. Croix River to alewives
- Thanks But No Tank, People’s Choice Award, for exceptional efforts mobilizing and engaging citizens to protect Searsport and surrounding coastal communities from potential harm posed by a proposed LPG tank and terminal.
- Sam Day, Environmental Award, for his exceptional efforts to raise awareness about issues threatening Maine’s watersheds and native fisheries and for his effective lobbying and testimony at the Legislature to protect Maine’s wetlands and waterfowl.
- Mark Stadler, Environmental Award, for his decades of service protecting Maine wildlife as leader of the Wildlife Division at Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and for his invaluable efforts in the Legislature and before the Board of Environmental Protection that helped defeat extreme rollbacks of strong protections for Maine’s inland wading bird and waterfowl habitat.
- Representative Bob Duchesne, Environmental Award, for his tireless and skilled leadership across a broad range of legislative issues, bringing passion and humor to the job of defending Maine’s environment through the passage and defense of strong laws.
- Bob Iles, People’s Choice Award, for exceptional efforts preserving the summit of and maintaining trails on Whitecap Mountain in Rumford, and for continued work to obtain public access to area lands and waterways as a member of the board of the Mahoosuc Land Trust.
Listen to award citations and speeches by award winners:
- Brownie Carson, Lifetime Achievement Award for 27 years of extraordinary leadership of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, including his ability to inspire, galvanize, and empower Maine citizens to take actions that protect Maine’s environment.
- Judy Kellogg Markowsky, Lifetime Achievement Award for her lifetime contributions as a conservationist and environmental educator, and for her passionate work to protect the Penobscot River watershed.
- Sandra Wright, Environmental Award for her exemplary work to motivate citizens to participate in the legislative process by planning and holding meetings with area legislators during the 2011 session.
- Belfast Co-housing and Ecovillage, People’s Choice Award for exceptional efforts and tireless work to establish a model environmentally sustainable, affordable, multi-generational cohousing community.
- Representative Hannah Pingree, for her extraordinary leadership in passing bold new laws that protect the health of Maine people, environment, and wildlife.
- Vera Francis, People’s Choice Award, for serving as a leader in a true citizens’ movement in her efforts to protect Passamaquoddy Bay from a proposed LNG terminal.
- Russell Pierce, Esq. of Norman, Hanson, and DeTroy LLC, for extraordinary efforts to defend the Moosehead Lake region from speculative, poorly sited development.
- PPL Maine, Dick Fennelly, and Scott Hall, for extraordinary leadership and collaboration in creating the historic agreement to restore fish passage on the Penobscot River.
- Evelyn Dunphy, People’s Choice Award, for her exceptional efforts in protecting Katahdin Lake from development.
- Verrill Dana LLP (Nora Healy and Bill Harwood) and Wiley Rein (Charles O. Verrill), for tireless work and unwavering determination resulting in removal of the Fort Halifax Dam.
- Dustin Ramsay, for his exceptional efforts in raising environmental awareness throughout your school and to other Maine schools.
- Elisa Boxer, for her extraordinary efforts in helping to pass the kid-safe products bill during the 2008 legislative session.
- Willy Ritch, People’s Choice Award, for exceptional leadership in mobilizing the citizens of Wiscasset to defeat plans for a coal gasification facility in their town.
- Friends of the Presumpscot River, for their tireless efforts in the restoration of the Presumpscot River.
- Jeff Pidot, Lifetime Achievement
- Neil McCubbin, for his extraordinary work as a true and honorable advocate for the Androscoggin River
- Maggie Shannon, People’s Choice Award, for her dedication to the work of the Congress of Lake Associations and the inspiration she provides to others
- Sally Jacobs, for providing extraordinary leadership in the protection of land in the Bangor-Orono region.
- Dudley Greeley, for his work as an advocate for greener, more energy-efficient buildings.
- Androscoggin River Alliance, for its unwavering efforts to ensure clean-up of the Androscoggin River.
- Eric Brown, for starting Gang Green, an environmentally focused group of teachers and students at Lawrence High School. Note: Eric was the winner of our first annual People’s Choice Award.
- Adam Lee, for reducing air and greenhouse gas pollution by ensuring that cleaner, more efficient cars are available in Maine.
- Kent Olsen, for his pivotal role in securing lasting protection for Maine’s special places.
- Irvin “Buzz” Caverly, for protecting the wilderness character of Baxter State Park.
- Jenna Shue, for moving the Maine Legislature to address gaps in monitoring and managing emissions from waste-to-energy incinerator plants.
- Peter Brann and Ben Lund, for their efforts to defend Maine’s environment in the courts
- Harry Dwyer and Andy Irish, for their contributions to the state’s actions to stop liquidation harvesting of Maine’s forests.
- Dan Amory, for his extraordinary efforts to create permanent protections for Maine’s environment
- BACORD, for its courage and tenacity in the fight to protect Penjajawoc Marsh
- Kennebec Valley Trout Unlimited, for its relentless advocacy of the Kennebec River system
- Bob Kimber, who has been a constant voice and strong presence in the ongoing fight to protect wilderness in Maine
- John Cole, Lifetime Achievement Award, a naturalist, environmental reporter, and long-time crusader for Maine’s waters, wilderness, and wildlife
- Bill Houston, for his effort to protect wild areas of Maine
- Evan Richert, for his efforts to restore Maine’s rivers
- Molly Saunders, advocate for a healthy Androscoggin Lake
- HELP (Dr. David Adams, Carol Bass, Sue Hammerland DeSmith, and Ed Simmons), for community organizing to clean up Wyman Station
- Nancy Galland and Richard Stander, for mercury pollution prevention and clean up at HoltraChem in Orrington
- Steve Keith and Dave Tobey, for protection of the Down East Lakes region
- Doug Watts, for advocacy of healthy, free-flowing rivers
- Ed Baum, protecting Maine’s wild Atlantic salmon
- Sheila Bennett and Linda Koski, protecting the Allagash
- Paul Blouin, championing Cleaner Car Incentives Pilot Program
- Jon Eaton, Warren Sanitary District’s pollution of the St. George estuary
- Chellie Pingree and Steve Rowe, for leadership of the $50 million land bond
- Jim Glavine, conservation of Maine’s remote forest lands
- Bart Hague, petitioning the Department of Environmental Protection to reconsider CMP’s permit along the Crooked River
- Sue Hammerland DeSmith, leading citizen effort to stop pollution from Wyman Station
- George Neavoll, Community Service Award
- Bill Townsend, Lifetime Achievement Award
- Janet McMahon, ecological reserves and biodiversity
- Ron Kreisman, Edwards Dam
- Steve Brooke, Edwards Dam
- Dean Bennett, protecting Allagash Wilderness Waterway
- Dave Hubley, protecting Allagash Wilderness Waterway
- Jon Luoma, protecting Allagash Wilderness Waterway
- Joan Benoit Samuelson, air activist
- Beverly Paigen, dioxin
- Garrett and Alexandra Conover, North Woods protection
- Jane Karker, dioxin-free paper
- George Nilson, general environmental support
- Lani Graham and Bob Frakes, public health, mercury, dioxin
- Edward "Ned" Rendall, general environmental support
- Jeff Barnum, North Woods, anti-takings
- Karin Tilberg, general environmental support
- Joe Kott, responsible transportation and land use
- Kevin Gildart, anti-takings
- Reed Coles, general environmental support
- Nancy Haviland, mining
- Cherie Mason, champion activist
- William Jellin, environmentally responsible business
- Scott Williams, lakes protection
- Cheryl Barden, solid waste
- Peter Troast, land bond, socially responsible business, turnpike
- Bonnie Lounsbury, lawyer/activist
- Edward Rendall, citizen activist, former BEP
- Alan Houston, Marine Resource Warden, Brunswick/West Bath
- Senator George Mitchell
- Larry Pritchett, Georges River Tidewater Assn. activist
- Alan Brodie, Quoddy Regional Land Trust
- Michael Deland, Region I EPA
- Phyllis Austin, Maine Times
- Citizens of Yarmouth, local land acquisition bond
- David Moskovitz, energy planner
- State Rep. Mike Michaud
- Portland Working Waterfront Coalition
- Town of Brunswick Recycling Program
- Sam Zaitlin, Board of Environmental Protection
- Beedy Parker, citizen activist
- Jeanne Hollingsworth, citizen activist
- Orono Land Trust
- Spirit of Opposition to US DOE’s high-level radioactive waste dump
Banner photo: Fall sunset, Silver Lake, Katahdin Iron Works, by Francesca Galluccio-Steele