2014 was a year of many anniversaries: the 90th anniversary of the Bay Chapter, the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the centennial of John Muir’s death, and the 20th anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act. All these momentous occasions gave the Bay Chapter the opportunity to reflect on past achievements and honor the activists whose vision and passion have guided us for close to a century. At the Chapter’s birthday party in November, we honored a small number of our dedicated activists with the following awards:
Edward Bennett, Edward Bennett Lifetime Achievement Award
A true Golden Sierran, Ed Bennett was elected to the Chapter Executive Committee in 1969, and served as Chapter chair, treasurer, or assistant treasurer for a period of 30 years. He takes special pride in his work on the successful campaign 1972 campaign for Proposition 20, the Coastal Initiative, which provides protection for much of the California coastline, and Proposition 70, the Wildlife, Coastal, and Park Land Conservation Act of 1988, which provided $25 million to help establish the East Bay Shoreline Park. In 1976 Ed founded the slide-lecture series “EVENTS,” which continued for 16 years and provided the Chapter with a major source of funding.
Zeke Gerwein, Future Leader Award
This summer, 13-year-old Zeke Gerwein embarked on a second summer biking adventure, pedaling 3,400 miles from Mexico to Canada and back down the coast to Arcata. Zeke’s trip raised money for the Bay Chapter and raised awareness of climate disruption. Zeke’s was an educational enterprise on multiple levels; an extraordinarily articulate young man, he shared his story and learned from the people he met along his route. Since his return to his home in Berkeley, Zeke has shared his experiences with others. Show your support for Zeke’s work by making a donation to the Bay Chapter at tinyurl.com/thankzeke.
Arthur Boone and Tree-planting Team, Excellence in Community Service
When Oakland reduced its tree crew in mid-2009, Sierra Club leader Arthur Boone stepped up to fill the void. Boone worked with the Northern Alameda County Group to garner the support of Oakland’s city officials, including former Councilwoman Jane Brunner. The tree team recruits and trains volunteers who plant trees between November and July. Over the last four-and-a-half years the Sierra Club’s all-volunteer tree-planting team planted 1,072 street trees in Oakland, with many more going in this season.
Jane Barrett, Paul Foster, Anna Robinson, Evelyn Randolph, and Jack Sudall (in memorial) of East Bay Dinners, Excellence in Social Events
In 1948, several volunteer leaders organized dinners to introduce new members to the Sierra Club and all it had to offer. Over time, these dinners became the East Bay Dinners: an evening of socializing with friends and a slide show presentation of members’ interesting trips. The current committee (our awardees) shares 128 years of Sierra Club membership and has given us 35 years of service. We also honor two past program coordinators, Bill Loughman and John Shively, as well as Jack Sudall, who led the group for 52 years and passed away in 2014.
Katherine Howard, Activist of the Year
“The public needs to be informed of what’s happening with our parks so that they can hold their elected officials responsible for protecting our precious park heritage,” said Kathy Howard. That statement pretty much sums up her approach to conservation. Over the years Kathy has helped to form various grassroots groups to be a voice for Golden Gate Park. Her efforts in Golden Gate Park include saving 100-year-old trees in the Music Concourse; successfully opposing the construction of a 40,000-square-foot water-treatment facility inside the park; and a six-year campaign to stop the Beach Chalet project.
Dick Schneider, Acre by Acre Award
Dick Schneider’s 40-year “career” in the Sierra Club has ranged from environmental research on high-altitude Sierra Nevada lakes to work on energy, toxics, and population issues as a Club leader. Dick’s leadership has been instrumental to campaigns to protect unincorporated eastern Alameda County land from sprawl and other harmful development. He has been involved in numerous growth-control initiatives in Fremont, Livermore, Hercules, Moraga, and Dublin, where in 2014 he helped lead the successful campaign to defeat a developer-backed initiative that would have broken the city’s new urban-growth boundary and authorized urban sprawl in rural Doolan Canyon.
Past Recipients, Michener Outings Leadership Award
In 2001, the Bay Chapter established the Dave and Pat Michener Outings Leadership Award, named after the volunteers who co-edited the Chapter Activities Calendar for more than 30 years. The award recognizes individual Chapter outings leaders for superior leadership. Michener Award recipients are: Don de Fremery (2001), Patrick Colgan (2002), Guy Mayes (2003), Jayne and Erwin Keller (2004), Jack Sudall (2005), Katy and Brad Christie (2006), Richard Watson (2007), Diane Smith (2008), Lloyd Sawchuck (2009), Chuck Collingwood (2010), Russ Hartman (2011), Mike Hayman (2012), Janess Hanson (2013), and Vera Lis (2014). These individuals have enriched outings participants and served the environmental movement in countless ways.