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  Features:
Bush Wages War on Parks, Wilderness
Dollars Not 'Dozers
  Club Opposes Road Through Smokies, Pushes Cash Settlement
Waking Up from Highway Hangover
Environmental Rules Pay Off
And the Winner Is . . .
  Club leaders gather to present 2003 National Awards
   
   
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Getting the Word Out
   
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The Planet
Who We Are

Charles Lamb—Youngstown, New York

Executive Committee member, Niagara Group

A semi-retired Presbyterian minister, Charles Lamb splits his time between his western New York flock and serving on the Niagara Group executive committee.

He gained his love of nature growing up in the shadows of the Great Smokies of Tennessee. But it wasn’t until his ministry brought him to Youngstown, a small town next to Niagara Falls, and he learned of the hundreds of tons of PCB-laden dirt slated to be landfilled nearby, that he became a grassroots activist. "What’s truly shocking," he says, "is that the proposed dump site is literally down the road from a large K-12 school with 1,200 students."

Lamb helped pull together alarmed residents into a local group that challenged the PCB importation. They hope to hear soon on their latest legal appeal. His group also recently co-sponsored a lecture by Love Canal activist Lois Gibbs.

Lamb, who edits the group newsletter, also works on population stabilization. "As a pastor I think I am in line with the thinking of most religions when I say that we are given the ability, and the obligation, to make sensible choices under God. If one really cares about protecting our air, water, and land, as well as the wildlife, slowing population growth is essential."

Recently, Lamb invited Annette Souder, director of the national Sierra Club Global Population and the Environment Program, to his religious studies class at Niagara University, and set up a meeting between her and his local clergy group. "Religion and the environment—it’s a potent coalition," he says.

— Jim Hufnagel
Global population and the environment committee


Madelyn Pyeatt—Bellingham, Washington
Inner City Outings Pioneer

In September, Madelyn Pyeatt became the first recipient of a new national Sierra Club award honoring Club leaders for outstanding service to youth—the Madelyn Pyeatt Award.

A longtime resident of Oakland, California, Pyeatt was one of the earliest proponents of the concept of "inner city outings." In the early 1970s, she thought it would be wonderful to provide outdoor opportunities to inner-city high school children who wouldn’t otherwise experience them. So Pyeatt began the Oakland Tech TRAILS club, the longest-running Inner City Outings (ICO) group in the country.

" There were a couple other ICO groups at Oakland Tech at the time," she recalls, "but they weren’t serving the population I wanted to serve. I originally started TRAILS (Tech’s Red American Indian League) to fulfill a request from Native American kids at Tech.

" ICO was able to provide equipment, transportation, insurance, and volunteers who were tree huggers and river dancers," she says. "No other organization could reach these inner city minority students with those resources."

Pyeatt’s philosophy about ICO goes beyond the basic credo of providing outdoor experiences for city kids—she feels it’s important to develop leadership qualities in her participants, using the outing experience as a springboard. And each year, several of her students are encouraged to become full-fledged ICO leaders.

" We absolutely have to reach inner-city and minority people if we are ever to win any environmental battles in this country," she says.


Tom Valtin and David Crabb


Maggie Wade—Waldo, Alabama
Alabama Chapter Vice Chair

Maggie Wade lives in an old bootlegger’s cabin that she refurbished, added onto, and made into a comfortable, woodsy home on the banks of Talladega Creek in northeastern Alabama. Her "back yard," where she frequently hikes, is the Talladega National Forest, where the southern Appalachians begin.

A teacher of deaf children by day at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, Wade is also affiliated with the Camp McDowell Environmental Center in Jasper, Ala., where she has been helping to coordinate an environmental camp for deaf children for nine years. She is also working in her spare time to improve the way the state’s environmental agency (ADEM) is run. "I’m the Sierra Club rep on the ADEM Reform Coalition," she explains, "and we’ve developed a ‘Blueprint for ADEM Reform.’ I’m on a planning committee the state developed to get input from stakeholders, so we’ve managed to get most of our issues presented to the state."

Wade recently spearheaded a successful effort to save an historic bridge that spans Talladega Creek near her home, and turn an abandoned stretch of highway into a walking and bicycle path.

" The old stretch of road is about a mile long, it crosses the river, and it winds through a very pretty area. It makes a nice pedestrian and bicycle track, and people walk their dogs and kids ride their bikes there. The demolition contract was for about $30,000, so not only could we get a park out of it, we could save money, too—the savings can be used for flowers along the new road or any number of things!"

— Tom Valtin

Know someone whose story is deserving? Contact us at The Planet, 85 Second St., Second Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105; planet@sierraclub.org.


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