Metro Parks, First Creek Neighbors receive Cascade Land Conservancy honors

More than 600 people joined the Cascade Land Conservancy Thursday in honoring the South Sound’s “heroes of conservation” at the Conservancy’s biennial Pierce County Conservation Awards Lunch.

The highlight of the event was the awarding of the Helen Engle Lifetime Achievement Award to Congressman Norm Dicks. Dicks was honored for “his long-term passion and commitment, above and beyond the call of duty, critical to the conservation of our region’s unique natural character and to the enhancement of the quality of life for our residents.” Engle presented the award personally to members of Congressman Dicks’ family. Dicks spoke to the group by telephone from Washington, D.C.

“This is a great honor,” said Congressman Dicks. “Helen is legendary as an environmental leader and her commitment makes this award all the more meaningful to me.” Dicks said that the partnership between the Conservancy and the Federal government has achieved much for the region. “Neither the government nor the private sector could have achieved separately what we have achieved together.”

Ryan Mello, Tacoma City Councilmember and Pierce County Conservation Director for the Conservancy, said, “The Land Conservancy has worked together with a number of groups in the South Sound area to conserve more than 18,000 acres of working forests, farmland and natural areas in the region. A signature project over the past year has been to lead a coalition in the conservation of Devil’s Head.” The property, long sought by individuals and organizations in the South Sound area, is 94 acres at the tip of the Key Peninsula. It includes nearly a mile of breath-taking shoreline on Puget Sound.

Gene Duvernoy, President of the Conservancy, praised the work of volunteers, elected officials and business leaders in the South Sound. “Our awards stretch from the Halls of Congress to a sustainable farm in Orting. From a neighborhood park project to forward-thinking business,” Duvernoy said. “Like this room today, they show the power working together.”

The Conservancy also presented awards in the following categories:

I. Cascade Agenda Leadership Award

Metro Parks Tacoma for being a leader in our community that is linking great communities, a healthy environment and a strong economy.

II. Innovative Conservation Project Award

Pierce County and PCC Farmland Trust for the Orting Valley Farms project. This award celebrates the cooperation and persistence required to overcome obstacles and conserve land important to our community.

III. Land Stewardship Award

REI (Tacoma) for outstanding leadership in environmental stewardship by demonstrating a unique ability to bring people together in service of conservation.

IV. New Directions for Livable Communities

First Creek Neighbors, the Puyallup Tribe and City of Tacoma celebrating the innovation and cooperation required to create great communities and conserve great landscapes.

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