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Awards Presented at 2012 Annual Meeting

Environmentalists of the Year: Charles River Watershed Association

Charles Johnson Maynard Award: State Representative Kay Khan and George Kirby and Sean Roche of the Newton Bicycle Pedestrian Task Force

Directors' Award: Eric Reenstierna


Environmentalists of the Year:
Charles River Watershed Association

Executive Director Bob Zimmerman and Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel Margaret Van Deusen are a formidable team, and have brought CRWA to the national forefront of urban river restoration. In fact, the EPA considers the Charles River now to be the cleanest urban river in the nation. The strength of the team, which also includes Kate Bowditch and Julie Wood, is that they have brought a rigorous, science-based approach to their public and legal advocacy. It has taken enormous hard work to build the organization to the point of being able to bring these resources to bear identifying the river's problems and working toward solutions.

While they have achieved international and national recognition, we as the local folks benefit the most from their hard work. The watershed is habitat to hundreds of species of fish, birds, mammals, and insects. The river provides recreational opportunities to thousands of people as well. On behalf of all who benefit from your work as stewards of one of the oldest watershed associations in the country - at 46 CRWA is just a few years younger than the Newton Conservators, at 51 - we thank you.

This was the 31st Environmentalist of the Year Award presented by the Newton Conservators to an individual or group who has made a distinguished environmental contribution to our community.

Award winners Margaret Van Deusen and Bob Zimerman receive the award from Conservators president Jane Sender.

photos by Henry Finch


Charles Johnson Maynard Award: State Representative Kay Khan and George Kirby and Sean Roche of the Newton Bicycle Pedestrian Task Force

The Charles Johnson Maynard Award is given each year to recognize efforts "to improve biodiversity, habitat reclamation, and natural resource protection."

This group led the effort to turn an unused and dangerous old railroad bridge into a lovely, pedestrian friendly green space, restoring the banks along the river, connecting Newton and Wellesley, and providing access to trails on DCR land along the Charles River.

It was not at all easy to achieve this. The project started thanks to the State's Accelerated Bridge Program in 2008, and came into being with the leadership and hard work of Rep. Khan, George Kirby, and Sean Roche, working with the Newton Conservators, the Wellesley Natural Resources Committee, CRWA, and DCR. It was finally completed in 2011. If you haven't been there - it is off Concord Street in Newton and off Rt. 16 where the old Grossmans was in Wellesley, it is definitely worth a trip.

Sean and George work extremely hard week in and week out, year after year, to get people to drive less and bike and walk more. This is complicated, important work touching on many issues, and not as easy as it should be. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on May 8th, 2012.



Directors' Award: Eric Reenstierna

The Conservators gave Eric Reenstierna a Directors' Award for his commitment to open space protection in Newton.

Eric served on the Newton Conservators board from 2001 to 2011, was president in 2003 and 2004. He is now a Newton Conservators advisor. Eric was the sparkplug behind our Land Acquisition Committee. It was during Eric's tenure that Newton adopted the Community Preservation Act, making public funds available for open space land acquisitions.

Eric's background as a land appraiser has been invaluable to the Conservators, as property valuation is a key component in CPA deals. Eric's skills and expertise were crucial to the success of the Dolan Pond-76 Webster Park project as well the successful Kesseler Woods and Angino Farm projects.


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