HVA presents Lake Waramaug Task Force with award

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Voices the Newspaper

KENT — The Housatonic Valley Association presented Tom McGowan and the Lake Waramaug Task Force with its highest honor, the Charles Downing Lay Lifetime Environmental Achievement Award, at its annual meeting Saturday, October 13.

The award recognizes leadership, stewardship and advocacy to restore and conserve Lake Waramaug.

Shep Evans, HVA board vice president, said, “The award, named after HVA’s founder, celebrates the most vital environmental leaders whose actions have created a legacy of environmental achievement that will be enjoyed by generations of people for many decades to come.”

Other awards to individuals and organizations for conservation achievements include the Montgomery Hare Environmental Advocate Award, the Housatonic Watershed Conservationist Award, The Litchfield Hills Greenprint Award, The Corporate Environmental Leadership Award, and the Excellence Through Collaboration Award.

Dave Reagon received the Montgomery Hare Environmental Advocate Award, for advocacy for the Mill Brook in Sharon and in Amenia, New York.

Mr. Evans said, “This award was named for Shakespearean actor and long-time HVA leader Montgomery Hare, who was known for his thundering advocacy on behalf of the Housatonic River Valley.”

Berkshire Natural Resources Council received the Housatonic Watershed Conservationist Award for its leadership to conserve ecologically valuable landscapes across Berkshire County. Michael Belknap, BNRC vice chair, accepted the award.

Mr. Evans noted that BNRC also created almost all of the community land trusts throughout the Berkshires.

Dennis Collins received The Litchfield Hills Greenprint Award for persistence and collaborative leadership to preserve land in Norfolk.

The Aquarion Water Company received the Corporate Environmental Leadership Award for raising public awareness of environmental issues through its sustainability platform, its annual environmental champions program and by fostering partnerships among environmental organizations and business leaders.

Mr. Evans said, “This year HVA honors long-time board leader Dr. Marc Taylor by establishing its Excellence Through Collaboration Award in his memory.

“Dr. Taylor, who passed away earlier this year, encouraged collaborative efforts to solve environmental challenges. He was one of our staunchest friends and allies, one of our most passionate board members, and a great friend of rivers across the country.”

This award was presented to Friends of the Lake, accepted by Greg Bollard, for outstanding efforts to restore and protect Lake Lillinonah through research, advocacy and collaboration with sister organizations in the Housatonic Watershed, and Valerie Friedman, for sharing her expertise, guidance and friendship with river groups across Connecticut.

The HVA also recognized the efforts of River Stewards Rebekah White and Neil Flahive and river volunteers Brian Saccardi, Matt Matsudaria and Mikey Re for protecting the rivers and streams a part of the Housatonic river system.

Danny Marino of West Cornwall was recogznied for being the winner of the individual silver medal at the youth world fly-fishing championship on the Tiber River in Italy.

His recognition comes from bringing international attention to the recreational value of the Housatonic River.

HVA also honored Susan Svirsky and Region 1 Environmental Protection Agency PCB Remediation Team for their perseverance in seeking to solve the PCB contamination of the Housatonic River.

While not an endorsement of EPA’s soon-to-be-released cleanup plan, the details of which are not known, the HVA recognized these civil servants for their work on behalf of the river.

HVA, a nonprofit citizen’s environmental group founded in 1941, works to conserve the natural character and environmental health of its communities by protecting and restoring the land and waters of the Housatonic watershed from its source in the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, area to Long Island Sound.

HVA is monitoring water quality throughout the watershed, adding sections to the Housatonic Greenway which links preserved space along the Housatonic River corridor with hiking and biking trails, and is using computer mapping to help towns measure the impact and benefits of land use and development.

HVA also sponsors the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative in protecting more land across northwest Connecticut. It has offices in Cornwall Bridge, South Lee, Mass., and Wassaic, N.Y.

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