By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
TULSA, OK – The Green Country Group of the Sierra Club (GCSC) has announced the winners of its 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards. The honorees were recognized during their Annual Holiday Potluck Dinner, Auction & Awards of Excellence event held last month at College Hill Presbyterian Church in Tulsa.
The group also designated two “EcoLosers of the Year” at the event.
“We are very proud to reveal that our most deserving winners of the 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards were presented to two organizations and three volunteers,” said Barbara VanHanken, Oklahoma Sierra Club Green Country Group chair.
The Helmerich Park Resistance Group was honored at the event for working “diligently and consistently to prevent the sale and development of the heart of Helmerich Park at 71st Street and Riverside Drive.” According to a press release, the Resistance group is as committed to the preservation of this urban parkland as the Green Country Sierra Club is to the preservation of all public parklands. Former Tulsa Mayor Terry Young accepted the GCSC award on behalf of the group.
Also honored was the Tulsa Earth Coalition, a new network of environmentally conscious groups and organizations that believe in “the necessity of the prevention of manmade climate changes that lead to more dangerous, unlivable pollution and storm events.” The original coalition was comprised of Green Country Sierra Club, Climate Parents of Green Country, All Souls Green Team and the Carrie Dickerson Foundation.
The Tulsa Earth Coalition includes the Citizens Climate Lobby and the TYPros (Tulsa Young Professionals) Sustainability Crew. The coalition was among those who manned the Climate Café environmental table that was located next to the Cherry Street Farmer’s Market (1500 S Quaker St,) throughout the summer.
Marilyn McCulloch accepted the GCSC award on behalf of the Tulsa Earth Coalition.
Three individual Sierra Club members were honored with the GCSC Volunteer Environmental Excellence Award.
Long-time environmentalist and Green Country vice chair, Paul Gray was recognized for being the grounding force for hosting the Climate Café in Tulsa on most Saturdays.
New Sierra Club member Nancy Moran was recognized for her dual role of the leading the new Tulsa Climate Parents group and the new Tulsa Ready for 100 Campaign, which aims for 100 percent renewable energy for Tulsa by 2050 or before.
A former Los Angeles Sierra Club member, Adriana Rivers was honored for her “zest for Sierra Club and her computer abilities.” Through these skills she was able to restore the groups “long dead website and other communication tools” which has assisted in the rapid growth of Green Country Sierra Club this past year, according to VanHanken.
“The excitement was building all evening to see who the 2017 Environmental “EcoLosers” would be,” said VanHanken.
“Two EcoLosers were selected from eight nominees by cash donations from the guests attending,” VanHanken stated. “The Oklahoma Award was earned, by none other than previous EcoLoser, Scott Pruitt, now head of the Environmental Protection Agency.”
This is a repeat honor for Mr. Pruitt, VanHanken noted.
Generating the largest cash donations, the organization has also named President Donald Trump the national winner of the Green Country Group’s 2017 EcoLoser award.
“We think it is fitting that all the proceeds from the EcoLoser awards will be directed to the Tulsa Ready For 100 Campaign for renewable energy this year,” said VanHanken.
Located in Tulsa, Green Country Group is part of the Sierra Club’s Oklahoma Chapter. The group is comprised of 1,500 Sierra Club members located in the 28 counties of eastern Oklahoma. Their mission is to “Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet” through outings, activism, education, social events and volunteer activities.
The Green Country general meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month at the Linnaeus Teaching Gardens, Helmerich Classroom in the red barn behind the Tulsa Garden Center at 2435 S. Peoria Avenue. Check the website as dates are subject to change during the holidays.
For more information about the Green Country Group, visit sierraclub.org/oklahoma.