Every community has unsung heroes who work quietly to enhance the quality of our environment and communities. The activities of these creative, dedicated people take many forms. For three and a half decades, Mohonk Consultations has recognized the efforts of people and organizations that have shown an extraordinary level of commitment and achievement in preserving and protecting the environment and in making the Hudson Valley more habitable, healthy and inclusive – for us all. They take René Dubos’ words to heart, “Think Globally, Act Locally.”
Examples of their work include protecting water resources, agricultural lands and open spaces; launching recycling programs; creating rail trails; promoting outdoor education/nature programs; environmental management; Community Supported Agriculture projects (CSAs); pioneering and promoting green technologies; conservation and management of natural resources; and public advocacy on behalf of social, historical and environmental causes.
The annual Distinguished Achievement Award ceremony is held in the Mohonk Mountain House Parlor. The ceremony not only recognizes the remarkable achievements of the awardee(s), it also celebrates what is possible when a dedicated, committed force is willing to devote the time, energy and passion to protect our environment and communities.
2017 John Novi of High Falls NY.
2016 Rondout Valley Growers Association (RVGA) is a nonprofit community organization comprised of local farmers, residents, and businesses that are committed to strengthening the region’s family farms and preserving agricultural open space for future generations. The Valley’s fertile soils have been farmed since before the Half Moon sailed up the Hudson River. Since its start in 2003, RVGA has helped local farmers, businesses, and the community to keep local farming strong and support our farming community. (www.rondoutvalleygrowers.org)
2015 Ann Guenther has been a naturalist and teacher for more than 20 years, and more recently co-founded the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition . To read a New Paltz Times feature article about Ann’s life and work, as well as coverage of this event, CLICK HERE.
2014 Arm-of-the-Sea Theater and its founders and artistic directors, Marlena Marallo and Patrick Wadden. Founded in 1982, Arm-of-the-Sea Theater’s five-member company melds performance art, ecology and social action, to “explore the links between human communities and the life-support processes of the planet.” They tour to performing arts centers, festivals, community venues, and schools throughout the Northeast and beyond. Watch a video of their June 2014 performance of the “Turtle Island Medicine Show ” (below) or see a New Paltz Times article about the event.
2013 Dr. Paul C. Huth, Director Emeritus of Mohonk Preserve‘s Daniel Smiley Research Center (DSRC). Paul worked with Dan Smiley from 1974 until Dan’s death in 1989, when Paul assumed the role of the Preserve’s Director of Research. During his nearly 40-year career at the DSRC, Paul has made science accessible to thousands of Preserve visitors and Mohonk Mountain House guests through his engaging lectures, educational nature walks, and DSRC tours.
2012 Rik Flynn, A Co-Founder, Director and former President of the Board of UlsterCorps. Since its inception, the grassroots volunteer organization has worked to match up the right volunteer to the right project, enlisting thousands of volunteers to work directly with more than 100 local agencies and projects in Ulster County in an effort to meet the economic, environmental and social challenges facing the community.
2011 Laura Heady, Biodiversity Outreach Coordinator for the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program in partnership with Cornell University. She works to ensure clean water, protect fish, wildlife and their habitats, provide recreation and water access, minimize climate change, and protect our world-class scenery. A wide-ranging influence from the Troy dam to the New York City harbor.
2010 Michael Berg, founder and leader of Family of Woodstock, Inc, the largest private, not-for-profit, social service agency in the Hudson Valley. Woodstock, NY.
2009 Laurence M. Hauptman, Distinguished History Professor Emeritus at SUNY New Paltz, NY, well-known author of numerous scholarly books on the Seneca tribes, American history and indigenous rights.
2008 Bob Larsen, Mohonk Preserve – ranger, trailblazer, cultural historian, and land preservationist. Marbletown, NY.
2007 Les Hulcoop, Cornell Cooperative Extension – education and communication, support of regional food and farms, innovative community projects, green technologies. Millbrook, NY
2006 John Jankiewicz, Water and Sewer Administrator, Town of Lloyd – education and communication: pioneering work in constructed wetlands; promoting environmental education; and advancing green technology, Highland, NY
2005 Mohonk Consultations’ 25th Anniversary Celebration
2004 Ilka List, Artist & Environmental Educator – education and communication, teaching, writing, counseling adults, teachers and children through art and nature, Gardiner, NY
2003 Martha Cheo, Education Director, Hudson River Watch and Phillies Bridge Farm Project – education, communication and citizen participation, New Paltz, NY
2002 Al Valk, Supervisor, Town of Montgomery – environmental planning and preservation in his community, Montgomery, NY
2001 Eight Community Supported Agriculture Farms – management, conservation and renewal of the environment in Ulster and Dutchess Counties:
- Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Poughkeepsie, NY
- Sisters Hill Farm, Stanfordville, NY
- Stillpoint Community Farm, Amenia, NY
- Four Winds Farm, Gardiner, NY
- Huguenot Street Farm, New Paltz, NY
- Phillies Bridge Farm Project, Inc., New Paltz, NY
- Taliaferrro Farms, Clintondale, NY
- And Sow On Farm, High Falls, NY
2000 Manna Jo Greene, recycling pioneer, coordinator and educator – education and conservation of the natural environment; sustainable communities, and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Poughkeepsie, NY.
1999 Helen L. Vukasin, Mohonk Consultations Board, Phillies Bridge Farm Project – citizen participation and education, overseas environmental justice and sustainability, New Paltz, NY. See a New Paltz Times article about Helen here.
1998 Karl Beard, Mohonk Preserve and National Parks administration – conservation and management of the natural environment, Gardiner/Red Hook, NY
1997 Jim & Mary Ottaway, New Paltz NY –co-founders of Phillies Bridge Farm Project and citizen participation in local and global environmental projects.
1996 David Miller, Superintendent, Eastern Correctional Facility – environmental education and conservation of the natural and human environment, Napanoch, NY. See a New Paltz Times article about David here.
1995 Erik Kiviat, Hudsonia, Ltd. – environmental planning and management through scientific analysis and education, Annandale, NY
1994 Steven Stanne, Education Director, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater – environmental education pioneer, Poughkeepsie, NY
1993 Seven environmental education individuals and organizations— initiating and promoting far reaching programs.
- Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District, Cairo, NY
- Dan Guenther, Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and co-founder Phillies Bridge Farm Project, New Paltz, NY
- Fred Isseks and Middletown High School – environmental education through Electronic English & Journalism Class, Middletown, NY
- New Castle League of Women Voters, Committee on the Environment Waste Reduction, Chappaqua, NY
- Dorna Schroeter, Outdoor Education Program, Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES, Yorktown Heights, NY
- Miriam Straus & Amy O’Connor – environmental education leaders
1992 Active environmental leadership in our region – from individuals to organizations, communicating and leading by example in water and land conservation, volunterism, and recycling and planning programs.
- Frances F. Dunwell, environmentalist and author, Hudson River Highlands
- Hudson Valley Greenway – educating & empowering communities to conserve green resources, NYS
- Cindy Lancetta, Junior Recycler Program, Marlborough, NY
- Kingston Rotary Club, Kingston Point Park Commission, Kingston, NY
- Holly L. Thomas, Dutchess Co. Planning Department, Poughkeepsie, NY
- Damia Vietor, Coordinator of Volunteers, Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner, NY
- Wallkill/Shawangunk Correctional Facility, Recycling Program, Wallkill, NY
1989 Active Environmental Leadership – in water issues, civic and political areas.
- Ann Botshon, environmental leader – Orange Co. Wallkill River Task Force, Pine Bush, NY
- Shirley Kobran, environmental activist – League of Women Voters, Kingston, NY
- Warren McKeon, civic environmental leader – New Paltz, NY
1987 Preservation of open space and farmland and Hudson Valley land history
- Scenic Hudson – Scenic Easement Acquisition Program, Poughkeepsie, NY
- Charles Keene, Director, Museum of the Hudson Highlands, Cornwall on Hudson, NY
- Trust for Public Lands – Greymoor Farms Preservation
1985 Preservation of open space, community history and local environmental leadership
- Paul F. Brandwein, Founder, Brandwein Nature Preserve & Bird Sanctuary, Orange Co.
- Kenneth E. Hasbrouck, President, Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, NY
- Thomas Richardson, Editor and Publisher, Hudson Valley Green Times, Red Hook, NY
- Nancy & Robert Stover, Poughkeepsie, NY
1984 Involving youth with hands-on environmental projects
- Highland School Tree Project
- Philipstown Community Council, Inc. (Putnam Co.) – supporting youth through local and global environmental projects.