2009 Award Winners

Congressman Raul Grijalva of Tucson, Ariz., is receiving the club's Edgar Wayburn Award, which honors outstanding service to the environmental cause by a person in government. As a county supervisor Grijalva was instrumental in promoting the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan to protect the habitat of endangered species and other plants and wildlife. As a member of the U.S. Congress, he has expanded his work for environmental protection. Grijalva serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources, and chairs the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. "Congressman Grijalva's record as a stalwart steward of the environment exemplifies the leadership we need in America," said Sierra Club President Allison Chin. "He has promoted strong stakeholder outreach and always makes time to meet with advocates, attend small and large gatherings, and work for protection of the land in his district, his state, and throughout the country"

David Brancaccio, host of the PBS program "NOW," is receiving the David R. Brower Award, which recognizes outstanding environmental reporting or editorial comment that contributes to a better understanding of environmental issues. Brancaccio has used his show as a platform to present many important environmental issues, from green energy and green jobs to the impact of climate change.

The club's top award, the John Muir Award, is going to Greg Haegele, who has served as the Club's deputy conservation director, interim political director and conservation director. Haegele's work on the 2004 election took the Sierra Club to a much higher level of political effectiveness, and to a much higher level of recognition and respect within the national political community. His organizing efforts were also a force behind Sierra Club's major role in the electoral victories of the fall of 2008. Haegele also helped the Club launch its Climate Recovery Partnership, and its flagship effort, Beyond Coal.

The club's highest honor for administrative work, the William E. Colby Award, will go to Jonathan Ela of Madison, Wisc. Ela also has been involved with the Sierra Club's political work and founded the Club's Midwest Office, which brought the Club's first presence to that region of the country.

Others receiving 2009 Sierra Club awards include the following:

Ansel Adams Award (honors excellence in conservation photography): Joshua Wolfe of Brooklyn, N.Y. Wolfe has been photographing and promoting photography about climate change since 2004, and co-edited the 2009 book Climate Change: Picturing the Science with NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt.

Communication Award (recognizes use of either print or electronic media to further the Club's goals): Inner City Outings (ICO) National Newsletter and the Cumberland Chapter (Kentucky) Facebook Page.

Distinguished Service Award (recognizes individuals in public service for a particular action of singular importance to conservation): Ward Stone of Delmar, N.Y., and John Debo, Jr. of Hudson, Ohio. Stone is the director of the Wildlife Pathology Unit of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and has served as the state's sole wildlife pathologist for the past 40 years. Debo has been the superintendent of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for more than 20 years, and has made the park a model of the urban national park.

Environmental Alliance Award (recognizes individuals or groups that have forged partnerships with other non-Sierra Club entities): The Tejon Ranch Taskforce, which included representatives from the Club's Angeles and Kern-Kaweah Chapters, as well as its regional Desert Committee. The task force worked with other entities, including Audubon California, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Planning and Conservation League, and the Endangered Habitats League to help preserve the Tejon Ranch, a 270,000-acre tract of land south of Bakersfield, Calif., that is home to many endangered plants and animals.

Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award (recognizes a club member under the age of 30): Nathan Jones of Corvallis, Ore., and Sean Sullivan of Tucson, Ariz. Jones has been involved with a variety of environmental initiatives at Oregon State University (OSU) and was a founder of the region's student climate network, the Cascade Climate Network. He also is a leader in the Sierra Student Coalition. Sullivan has worked to protect the natural environment and promote sustainability in the U.S./Mexico border region. The Sierra Club groups that both have been involved with will receive $250 to continue their work.

Madelyn Pyeatt Award (recognizes work with youth): The late Allan Williams of West Hartford, Conn. Williams was involved with Hartford Inner City Outings (ICO) program for 18 years, and led approximately 4,000 children on outings. The Hartford ICO program will receive $250, which it plans to use to lead an outing in memory of Williams.

Oliver Kehrlein Award (for outstanding service to the club's outings program): David Bybee of Vancouver, Wash. Bybee has led trips, trained leaders and taught classes in California and Oregon for 35 years.

Raymond J. Sherwin International Award (honors extraordinary volunteer service toward international conservation): The India Advisory Council, a Sierra Club entity that created the "Green Energy & Green Livelihoods Achievement Award" program in India to recognize community initiatives to promote green economic development, adaptation of renewable energy alternatives and grassroots environmental leadership.

Special Achievement Awards (for a single act of importance dedicated to conservation or the Sierra Club): Verena Owen of Winthrop Harbor, Ill., and John Klein of Hudson, Mich. Owen has served as the volunteer chair of the Sierra Club's National Coal Campaign, which has stopped nearly 100 coal plants and stalled mountaintop removal mining. Klein has provided aerial photographic documentation of illegal Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Michigan since 2001.

Special Service Awards (for strong and consistent commitment to conservation over an extended period of time): Joyce Blumenshine of Peoria, Ill.; Jill Workman of Portland, Ore.; and Susan Heitman of Los Angeles, Calif. Blumenshine has been involved with conservation efforts in Illinois for 30 years; Workman has provided leadership for wilderness protection campaigns that have resulted in more than a dozen wilderness protections bills and public lands legislation; and Heitman has held many leadership positions within the Sierra Club in the past 14 years.

Susan E. Miller Award (honors administrative contributions to Sierra Club groups, chapters and regional entities): Donna Specht of Huntington Beach, Calif., and Barry Wulff of Philomath, Ore. Specht has held a variety of leadership positions within the Club's Angeles Chapter and Wulff has led the Club's Marys Peak Group for 10 years.

William O. Douglas Award (recognizes those who have made outstanding use of the legal/judicial process to achieve environmental goals): Joe Lovett of Lewisburg, W.Va., and Jim Hecker of Washington, D.C. Lovett and Hecker have worked together since 1998 to help stop the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.