3/16/16: Five Bay Advocates Honored by The Bay Institute
SAUSALITO, CA – March 16, 2016 - Each year, The Bay Institute recognizes individuals who have made exceptional efforts to improve and inspire conservation of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary and its watershed, giving out awards in three categories: education, reporting, and extraordinary accomplishments. On March 10, Laurette Rogers, Michael Connor, Jeremy Lowe, Peter Baye, and Alex Brietler joined an impressive list of recipients for these awards.
Carla Bard Education Award: Laurette Rogers
The ceremony kicked off with the presentation of the Carla Bard Education Award, an award that honors those who have significantly increased the public’s understanding of and concern for the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary. This honor was given to Laurette Rogers, the STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed) Program Director at Point Blue Conservation Science, a program that provides restoration science education for K-12 students and teachers.
Since its inception more than 20 years ago, over 40,000 students have helped complete over 500 restorations on creeks and wetlands, have planted over 45,000 native plants, and have restored over 32 miles of habitat. Upon accepting her award, Rogers invited those in attendance from the STRAW team to join her at the podium, bringing a team of dedicated interns, program staff, and more to the stage with her.
Bay Heroes Award: Michael Connor, Jeremy Lowe, Peter Baye
Next, bay.org board member Ben Bleiman introduced Michael Connor, Jeremy Lowe, and Peter Bay–the recipients of the Bay Heroes Award; an honor given to individuals whose actions and efforts have led to increased protection of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary.
Lighting struck these three while they sought a solution to the problem of Hayward marshes that were forecast to be submerged by sea level rise in our lifetime. Between them, Connor, Lowe, and Baye have vast experience with coastal plants, geomorphology, and sustainable water treatment strategies–knowledge that helped them come up with an innovative solution to sea level rise. They created a design for a self-maintaining shoreline marsh system that mimics nature–the Horizontal Levee. As Bleiman stated, the Horizontal Levee is “brilliant in its conception, deceptive in its simplicity, and has ignited not only scientific, but also political interest throughout the Bay and across the nation.”
Harold Gilliam Award: Alex Brietler
Finally, Dr. Jon Rosenfield, Conservation Biologist for The Bay Institute, presented the final award–the Harold Gilliam Award–to journalist Alex Brietler. The Harold Gilliam Award recognizes knowledgeable and skilled reporting on complex environmental issues affecting the Bay-Delta Estuary and its tributary waterways.
A reporter for The Stockton Record, and host of “Alex Brietler’s Environmental Blog,” Brietler has written about natural resources since 2006. Brietler has extensively covered topics critical to the San Francisco Bay Delta, from water issues, the drought, endangered species, land management, air pollution, and environmental justice issues.
Upon accepting his award, Brietler noted that he sometimes feels as endangered as some of the species he writes about. However, according to Brietler, “facts are also endangered. There’s a lot of bad information out there. What keeps me going is the opportunity to correct the bad information.” Brietler went on to express the importance of good journalism. “Journalism can matter if done correctly. This award inspires me to get out there and do a better job myself.”
The ceremony ended with a standing ovation for each of the awardees, and with guests leaving inspired and already looking forward to encountering future champions for the Bay in the coming years.
About The Bay Institute:
The Bay Institute is a leader in protecting and restoring San Francisco Bay and the vast watershed that drains into it. For over 30 years, The Bay Institute has been developing and leading model scientific research, education, and advocacy programs to preserve the fish, wildlife, and habitats of the Bay, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the rivers and streams that feed into the estuary, and the nearshore coastal and ocean waters at its downstream end.
Additional information on The Bay Institute is available at www.thebayinstitute.org.
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