RUTLAND, VT….Seeking to recognize a leading Vermont environmentalist and honor the legacy of a legendary wildlife advocate, Green Mountain Power is calling for nominations for the ninth annual GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award.
Presented annually and 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 remains a symbol of the strength, grit and character that great environmentalists often exhibit,” GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said. “Many of the past winners have been inspired by Meeri and her legacy, and have demonstrated the same kind of tenacity and foresight Meeri brought to saving endangered ospreys.”
Zetterstrom, a passionate wildlife advocate, began what became a statewide initiative to restore endangered ospreys in Vermont in the late 1980s. Despite long odds, indifference by others, and years of effort without success, Zetterstrom was an impassioned advocate 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 large part to Zetterstrom’s leadership, ospreys were removed from the endangered species list in 2005, and the Zetterstrom Award was created and announced shortly before she died in 2010.
GMP Vice President Steve Costello, who worked closely with Zetterstrom for years, said she was one of the most passionate and determined people he’s known. “Meeri was like the 1980 U.S. hockey team of the environmental world,” Costello said. “She was an underdog, an unknown the experts thought was in over her head. When Meeri started her work, virtually everyone doubted her. The hatching of the first chick in nearly 50 years was the osprey equivalent of the Americans beating the Russians at Lake Placid.”
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; and Marty Illick of the Lewis Creek Association.
Nominations for the GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award will be accepted through March 30, and the winner will be announced this spring. The winner will be chosen by a panel of GMP employees with responsibilities related to land management, resource protection, community relations and education, and environmental compliance.
Nominations may be made by the nominee or by any other entity and should demonstrate a commitment of the nominee to benefit Vermont, its land, air or water, wildlife or the enjoyment of the outdoors by others. This may be through educational efforts, environmental stewardship, resource rehabilitation, protection, preservation or conservation.
Vermonters of any age may be nominated. For a nomination application and more information, visit www.greenmountainpower.com.
About Green Mountain Power
About Green Mountain Power – Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and is partnering with customers 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 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. In 2014, Vote Solar named GMP a Solar Champion. More information
Steve Costello, Green Mountain Power