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Lake Champlain Committee Receives 2013 GMP-Zetterstrom Award

07 May 2013

 NEWS RELEASE

MONTPELIER, VERMONT – The Lake Champlain Committee, which celebrates 50 years of science-based advocacy, education and collaborative action this month, was presented the GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award today at a Statehouse ceremony.

“The Lake Champlain Committee has been an active, constructive force for the betterment of Lake Champlain and the entire Champlain Valley for half a century,” GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said.  “Like Meeri Zetterstrom, for whom the award is named, LCC has demonstrated a long-term commitment to building alliances to solve environmental problems, while pursuing education and environmental research.

“LCC’s determination and leadership, despite tremendous environmental challenges and obstacles, mirrors on a broad scale Meeri Zetterstrom’s leadership and commitment to saving ospreys at Lake Arrowhead,” Powell said.  “LCC has played a key role in protecting Lake Champlain since the spring of 1963.”

Steve Costello, GMP’s vice president for generation and energy innovation, worked with Zetterstrom to restore Vermont’s osprey population and was on an employee panel that selected LCC from about a dozen nominees.  He said the organization’s 50th anniversary later this month highlighted the deep and broad spectrum of its work.

“Since its founding, the Lake Champlain Committee has taken a lead role in addressing virtually every issue facing Lake Champlain, one of Vermont’s most prized treasures,” Costello said.  “Its board, staff and volunteers have been among Vermont’s most prescient and thoughtful protectors of the lake and the thousands of species and hundreds of communities that rely upon it in Vermont, New York and Quebec.”

The Lake Champlain Committee’s first meeting was on May 17, 1963, when nearly 100 people met to organize to stop a proposal to build a shipping channel from the St. Lawrence River to the Hudson River, via Lake Champlain.  The project was initially supported by legislative leaders, but LCC opposed the project and fought to protect the lake for swimming, boating, drinking water and its natural ecosystems. LCC won the ensuing multi-year battle; the group has been the lake’s leading advocate ever since.

The GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award was originally created by Central Vermont Public Service in 2010, and is presented annually to one person, business, or non-profit to honor a significant contribution to Vermont’s environment.  It is accompanied by a $2,500 donation to the winner’s environmental cause.

The award highlights the ongoing efforts of leading environmentalists and organizations, and the legacy of Meeri Zetterstrom, whose one-woman effort to protect ospreys led to the endangered birds’ recovery and removal from Vermont’s endangered species list.  Zetterstrom inspired countless Vermonters through her dogged efforts to protect ospreys, which were decimated by DDT, which caused thin, brittle osprey eggs.

“As we mark our 50th year, the GMP-Zetterstrom Award is a wonderful recognition of the Lake Champlain Committee’s work,” said Lori Fisher, LCC executive director.  “Like Meeri, our founders were persistent and effective advocates for the environment. That work continues today with new issues and new challenges. We urge people who care about the lake to get involved.”

Past award recipients include Sally Laughlin, a leading wildlife advocate and scientist whose work was instrumental in restoring three species of endangered birds in Vermont; Michael Smith, the founder and driving force behind Rutland’s Pine Hill Park; and Margaret Fowle, who has long led Vermont’s peregrine falcon restoration program, which is responsible for their return from the brink of extinction. For more information about the Lake Champlain Committee visit www.lakechamplaincommittee.org.

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 Contact: Steve Costello: (802) 793-4031