Each year, the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) presents awards to individuals and groups promoting and working on behalf of environmental issues.
This year’s event – their 30th – took place on Friday, April 13, 2018 at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City. Folks crowded into the museum and auditorium to chat with friends and enjoy local food prepared by Taproot Cider House, as well as local beer and wine.
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We are very proud and honored to report that Old Mission Gazette and yours truly are the recipient of NMEAC’s 2018 Environmentalist of the Year Award in the Journalism and Communication category.
Specifically, this award is given “for helping the public develop a deeper understanding of the environmental concerns facing the region and taking the initiative in investigative reporting of environmental issues.”
As anyone who reads the Gazette knows, we have a number of developments in progress on the Old Mission Peninsula right now, including The 81 on East Bay and Vineyard Ridge. Our job at the Gazette is not to take sides on these developments, but rather to bird-dog the meetings and public hearings, dig for information, and report on what’s happening. This esteemed award helps us to know that we’re getting it right. It lets us know that the information is getting out there and people are following along and paying attention.
My co-winner in this category is Leelanau County author Stephanie Mills, whose books include “Whatever Happened to Ecology?” and “In Praise of Nature.” I’ve known Stephanie a long time, and her unwavering dedication to furthering environmental issues both near and far is second to none. Visit her website here.
Other nominees in this category include Old Mission Peninsula author Lisa Maxbauer Price, whose book, Squash Boom Beet celebrates food grown at 56 farms and gardens in northern Michigan, including on the OMP; Heather Shumaker, author of Saving Arcadia: A Story of Conservation and Community in the Great Lakes; Mike Terrell, longtime outdoor writer for the Traverse City Record-Eagle and Northern Express; and Joe VanderMeulen, project manager of NatureChange.com.
Last year, the winner of NMEAC’s award in the Grass Roots Group category was Jim Komendera, who runs the nonprofit organization Preserve Old Mission. Their mission is to maintain and preserve the environmental, recreational, and community quality of the Old Mission Peninsula and the surrounding areas, including protecting and conserving its environmental resources.
Preserve Old Mission is currently working to bring awareness to “The 81 on East Bay” development, being developed by Kevin O’Grady, who won this year’s “Golden Bulldozer” from NMEAC – a tongue-in-cheek award given to a group or individual diametrically opposed to saving the environment.
The keynote speaker at this year’s Environmentalist of the Year celebration was Holly T. Bird, an attorney and judge who maintains a private practice in Traverse City. Her presentation included discussion of her work as the Civil Ground Coordinator of the Water Protectors Legal Collective, the leading legal service at the NoDAPL camp/protest in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She also founded and serves as the executive director for the MI Water Protectors Legal Task Force.
NMEAC is a group of passionate people doing important work to educate and empower people to take action on environmental issues. Visit their website for more info and to learn how you can get involved, and consider attending their Line 5 Retirement Party at the City Opera House in Traverse City on April 23, 2018. Click here for more info.
Check out a few photos of NMEAC’s 2018 Environmentalist of the Year celebration.
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb