The Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center hosted the first Environmental Leadership Awards given in Vermont, a project of the Burlington Free Press and the Echo Center.

Reception at Echo Center before the awards ceremony

Vermonters for a Clean Environment was chosen as one of 14 finalists from 44 nominations.

We were surprised to see that three businesses were chosen as finalists, including one out-of-state corporation, Green Mountain Power.

Though we are aware that people from Manchester, Clarendon, Ira, and Lowell, nominated us for our work on wind on a statewide level, the judges chose to pit us directly against GMP for our work on the Lowell Wind project.  We encourage the BFP and Echo to take a serious look at eligibility standards next year, otherwise can we expect to see Entergy, IBM, CVPS and Omya among the finalists next year.  Is honoring for-profit corporations really the purpose of these awards?

VCE’s executive director, Annette Smith and outreach and development director, Matt Levin attended along with more than a dozen members of VCE.

We probably had more people present to support our nomination than any of the other nominees.  We thank you all for coming, especially since everyone who came had further to travel than supporters of the other nominees.

The awards ceremony was a wonderful celebration of the good work many people are doing in Vermont.

Phelan Fretz of Echo Center introducing the awards

Especially inspiring were the remarks of Keynote Speaker David Donath.

David Donath, Keynote Speaker, "Freedom, Unity, and Green Mountain Environmentalism: Vermont as a Wellspring of the Environmental Movement"

We are pleased to provide the full audio of the event, along with videos of the opening remarks, the keynote speech, and the presentation of two of the three awards.

We do not have the video of the presentation of the Citizen Scientist award presentation.


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Finalists for What a Great Idea Award


The winner of "What a Great Idea", Richard Travers of Freeaire Refrigeration

VCE was among 5 finalists for the Courage in Leadership Award


Sarah Dopp accepting the Courage in Leadership Award for Calkins Natural Area/South Burlington Land Trust

Lori Fisher of the Lake Champlain Committee accepting the Citizen Scientist award for Toxics Monitoring