Florida Chapter Awards
The Florida Chapter feels that recognition of the work of volunteers is a responsibility because volunteers are essential to the work of the club. Recognition of volunteers must begin at the group (local) level, and the chapter encourages every group to maintain an active awards program. Nominees for chapter awards are submitted by group leadership and support volunteers who have been recognized by their groups. For more information, email the Florida Chapter Awards Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nominations for 2023 must be received by Nov. 1
See a list of previous Florida Sierra Award winners.
Winners of the 2022 Florida Chapter Awards
(Presented in 2023)
Shanell Davis-Bryant - Cypress Award - Northeast Group
The Cypress Award is given to an individual who has contributed greatly to the public’s environmental awareness in his/her locale or Florida as a whole. Shanell is program chair for Groundwork Jacksonville, a nonprofit that is tasked with restoring McCoys Creek and Hogans Creek. These creeks are within the 30 mile Emerald Trail that runs through the urban core of Jacksonville. Shanell directs volunteers such as Green Team Youth apprenticeship program, the CREST family environmental stewardship program, businesses, and surrounding neighborhood groups, to restore and maintain the Creeks. Sierra Club Florida Northeast Group has also been a partner of Groundwork Jacksonville, helping with monthly clean-ups and Earth Day activities. When these creeks are restored, they will provide green space and healthier environments, as well as reduce flooding in these low lying and lower income neighborhoods
The Whooping Crane Award is for a member who has done an outstanding job in the area of communications for the group. Suzi is the chair for the communications team for the Northeast Group. She has been instrumental in setting up new Sierra Club digital communication tools and expanding the group’s social and standard outreach. The group has a new campaign - Renew Jax - moving Jacksonville to 100% renewables by 2050, and Suzi has been a key figure in public relations for this campaign.
The Pine Tree Award is a special award for group leadership. It honors a group leader who has provided exceptional benefit in any of the areas of management, inspiration and encouragement of volunteers, fundraising or membership. Linda Smithe stepped into a void in leadership to chair the Loxahatchee Group, thereby keeping the group going. She continued meetings through Zoom throughout the pandemic and also assumed leadership in the group’s committees, as well as stepping up to be secretary.
When Palm Beach Ag Reserve came under assault for development pressure, the group, under her leadership developed educational materials for the public. She has also led the group to oppose a rock mine in St. Lucie County, and help develop a better comprehensive plan for Martin County. Linda is a longtime Sierran, green building consultant, and member of the Citizens Climate Lobby group among many other environmental organizations.
Carol has been a tour de force fighting mining interests in North Central Florida for many years. She has doggedly held the Bradford County Commission to task regarding a proposed phosphate mine that would have impaired the region’s watershed, and in early 2023 the application to mine was withdrawn. She is a primary organizer of “Rollin on the River”, a day on the river to actively highlight potential threats to the river. Carol is a true watchdog working to protect the environment and and educate the public in North Central Florida.
This award is for a writer/journalist who contributed greatly through research and knowledge to uncover specific issues impacting the environment, environmental justice or environmental policy in Florida. Sandi Schwartz is the newsletter editor for the Loxahatchee Group of Sierra Club. She is also an award-winning author, freelance journalist, editor, and researcher with 20+ years of experience communicating science-based information to diverse audiences in the areas of sustainability, green living, home and garden, nature, and wellness.
As the founder and director of the Ecohappiness Project, her mission is to inspire and educate families to build a nature habit to feel happier and calmer. She speaks about ecohappiness and her new book, "Finding Ecohappiness" is available on amazon.com or ecohappinessproject.com.
This award goes to a member who has done an outstanding job of service to the group. Rose has been a dependable voluhnteer for the Loxahatchee Group both behind the scenes and out in public. Behind the scenes, she has helped with putting out the newsletter, dealing with finances including treasurer and other fiduciary duties. Front and center, she has been a volunteer with our Inspiring Connections Outdoors children's program and at tabling events. Leaders are great, but every group could use many dependable Roses to keep things running smoothly.
The Otter Award is given to a member for outstanding service to the Sierra Club Outings Program. Meryl Davids stepped up to the plate when the past leader of our Inspiring Connections Outdoors childrens program was retiring. The group is still going strong thanks for dedication. She engages groups such as Bridges of Lake Worth West, Greenacres Community Center, youngsters from the Glades, who are primarily children of migrant workers, as well as Pace Center for Girls. She has many great adventures planned for this year, introducing disadvantaged youth to nature and the wonders of Florida environment.
The Barred Owl Award recognizes a business that consistently addresses environmental concerns, clean energy and/or sustainability as a major part of its presence in the marketplace. Lisa is founder and CEO of 15 Lightyears, an Orlando based solar installation and energy testing company. Since 2012, her company has been designing and installing solar in her area. Her nonprofit foundation also teaches the community about clean energy and sustainable practices. She has received several local awards from the business community and states.