$2,500 Prize Honors and Encourages Environmental Leadership in Vermont
11 January 2019
RUTLAND, VT – Seeking to honor a leading Vermont environmentalist and the legacy of a legendary wildlife advocate, Green Mountain Power is calling for nominations for the 10th annual GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award.
Named for famed osprey advocate Meeri Zetterstrom of Milton, the GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award is given to one person, business, group or non-profit that has made a significant contribution to Vermont’s environment. The award is accompanied by a $2,500 donation to the winner’s environmental cause.
“Meeri’s example lives on in so many Vermonters who are working to protect and preserve our natural resources,” GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said. “Many of the past winners were inspired by Meeri, and they have all demonstrated incredible tenacity and foresight, just as Meeri did when working to protect endangered ospreys.”
Zetterstrom’s wildlife advocacy was critical to a statewide initiative to restore ospreys in Vermont. Despite long odds, indifference by others, and years of effort without success, Zetterstrom was an impassioned champion who remained focused on her goal.
Zetterstrom lived in a small cabin with a bird’s-eye view of Lake Arrowhead in Milton, and in the 1980s was among the first to notice when a couple of ospreys returned to fish the lake’s waters after their near extinction in Vermont in the 1940s. Her vision, collaboration and leadership prompted utilities, the state and private landowners to work together, and ultimately led to the resurgence of ospreys over the next 25 years.
Thanks in part to Zetterstrom’s leadership, ospreys were removed from the endangered species list in 2005, and the Zetterstrom Award was created shortly before she died in 2010.
GMP Vice President Steve Costello, who worked closely with Zetterstrom for years, said he was thrilled to continue to honor her legacy. “Meeri was by far the most focused and committed person I’ve met,” Costello said. “She wanted to help save ospreys, and she would not let anything block her vision. Today, every time I see an osprey, I thank Meeri for her leadership and passion.”
Past Zetterstrom Award recipients include Sally Laughlin, a scientist whose work was instrumental in restoring three species of endangered birds in Vermont; Michael Smith, the founder of Rutland’s Pine Hill Park; Margaret Fowle, who led Vermont’s peregrine falcon restoration program; the Lake Champlain Committee, which works to protect and improve Lake Champlain; Kelly Stettner, who founded the Black River Action Team in southern Vermont; Roy Pilcher, founder of the Rutland County Chapter of Audubon; Lake Champlain International, a nonprofit working to protect, restore and revitalize Lake Champlain and its communities; Marty Illick of the Lewis Creek Association; and 2018 winner Steve Parren, a biologist for the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Nominations for the GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award will be accepted through March 30, and the winner will be announced this spring. For a nomination application and more information, visit www.greenmountainpower.com.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and is partnering with them to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP was the only utility named to Fast Company’s 2018 list of Most Innovative Companies for Energy and is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. J.D. Power’s 2018 rankings also put GMP among top utilities for customer satisfaction.
Steve Costello, Green Mountain Power