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The Planet
Who's Deserving?

by Jenny Coyle

Once a year, the mailbox in front of Ellen Mayou's home in Grapevine, Texas, spills over with letters outlining the hard work and accomplishments of Sierra Club volunteers around the country.

That's because for four years Mayou has held what she calls the most inspiring volunteer position in the Club - chair of the Honors and Awards Committee.

"It always amazes me to read the nominations for people who are doing such effective work on behalf of the environment," said Mayou, who handles the application and selection process along with committee members Sandy Miles of Indiana, and Letty French and Sherri Lipman of California.

And it's time to put the committee to work once again. They're calling for nominations of deserving Club volunteers to receive national awards in various categories. Winners get a trip to San Francisco to be feted at the Club's annual dinner, and in some cases receive monetary awards.

Relatively new awards include the One Club Award, which honors a volunteer who has used Club outings as a way to protect or improve public lands, instill an interest in conservation, increase membership in the Sierra Club or increase awareness of the organization. There's also the Electronic Communication Award that honors the best Web page or other use of electronic communications. Also fairly new is the Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award, which recognizes Club volunteers under 30 who have demonstrated a record of service to the environment.

More longstanding awards include the John Muir Award, considered the Club's highest award, which recognizes a distinguished record of leadership in national or international conservation causes.

"There are numerous categories, and we encourage members to nominate deserving volunteers by the June 1 deadline," said Mayou, who said she now prefers that nominations flood her "virtual mailbox" - by e-mail. Most awards will be presented at the Sierra Club Annual Dinner on Sept. 23 in San Francisco.

Information on all of the awards and printable nomination forms are available on our honors and awards site, or by contacting Ellen Mayou at mayou@flash.net; (817) 283-5489. Also, contact Mayou to find out about becoming a member of the Honors and Awards Committee.


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