Environmentalists from all sectors of the North Texas green community gathered at the sixth annual Green Source DFW Sustainability Leadership Awards on November 9 at the Dallas Arboretum. The event was hosted by Green Source DFW, an online environmental news site, and its nonprofit parent, Memnosyne Institute.
Wendel Withrow, Green Source DFW director, announced a new partnership between Green Source DFW and Oak Cliff Earth Day, an annual event formerly hosted by the Friends of Oak Cliff Parks. The popular event was not held last year but will be brought back in 2018 through the new partnership.
The Sustainable Leadership Awards spotlighted several successful grassroots programs and marked some notable environmental milestones. Dallas County Community College District won the Large Business or Nonprofit Project or Program Award for its homegrown Sustainability Summit. The free annual one-day conference engages students, staff and the community at large with local and national green speakers.
Dallas-based Recycle Revolution, which won Best Small Business in 2013, took home the honor again. This time, the award gave a nod to cofounder Maria Lott, who took over the business from her son Eddie Lott in 2014. Eddie credits her tenacity for saving the company and increasing its collection dramatically in several streams, including food waste, e-waste and plastics.
Arlington eco-activists had a noticeable presence, with several A-town finalists vying for awards, including the 40-year-old Arlington Conservation Council. But it was the newly formed Liveable Arlington, founded by Ranjana Bhandari, that took home the Small Nonprofit trophy. The group led a successful grassroots effort to stop a disposal well from being installed next to Lake Arlington, a drinking water source for a half-million people. The victory was hailed as a regional milestone.
Likewise, Corey Troiani, DFW director of Texas Campaign for the Environment, was named top Nonprofit Professional for his contribution to several local environmental fights, including defeating the Trinity Toll Road and a state “tree bill” that threatened local tree ordinances.
An overdue recognition was given to Dr. Robert Haley, named Volunteer of the year. Fourteen years ago, the Dallas-based doctor first rallied the Dallas County Medical Society and the Texas Medical Association to take a stand on the relationship between air pollution and health, in opposition to Texas coal plants. More recently, Haley led one of two studies by University of North Texas and UT Southwestern, commissioned by Downwinders at Risk, that spelled out the real costs of local air quality that fails to meet the federal standard.
The Henry B. Gonzalez Green Team was given the Future Generation award for their progressive environmental program at the Dallas elementary school. Jeff Dye of Earthx, won the Unsung Hero award. The in-house Founders Award went to Dr. Todd Collier, director of FoodSourceDFW, a sister program of GreenSourceDFW created by the Memnosyne Institute. Collier was recognized for overseeing the agency, which acts as a liaison between food donors and donees. Relying primarily on volunteers, Food Source DFW has moved $1.5 million pounds of food so far this year.
The Corporate Trailblazer Award went to Living Earth, which recycles and sells mulch, compost and soil products primarily derived from yard trimmings that otherwise would be disposed of in landfills. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Brent A. Brown, founder of bcWorkshop and interim president with the Trinity Park Conservancy. Brown is known for his sustainable urban public projects in and beyond Dallas. He is currently working to deliver to Dallas the new 200-acre plus Trinity River Park.
Julie Thibodeaux is the editor for GreenSourceDFW.org, an online environmental news site for North Texas.
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