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Award recipients have been good for the environment

The earth is a better place thanks to the winners of the 2011 Environmental Achievement Awards. The awards will be presented today by Rochester Public Utilities and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission.

The 2011 recipients are:

Byron Stadsvold— Since the mid-1980s, Stadsvold has been an instrumental volunteer at Oxbow Park and the Zollman Zoo. He has designed exhibits and structures to use local resources, provided design guidance for remodeling trail bridges, helped with routine zoo chores and served on the Friends of Oxbow Park board of directors.

Norrie MacIlraith— MacIlraith inspires others to be more environmentally responsible as coordinator of the Olmsted County Master Gardener's rain garden and storm water management projects. In 2009, she designed and installed a 240-square-foot rain garden at her home and uses it to share her knowledge and experience.

Jack Remick and the Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center— Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center opened in 2011 as a regional resource for environmental education. Remick designed the building and grounds to demonstrate sustainable practices such as reducing energy and water consumption, mitigating storm water impact and protecting restored wetlands.


Weiss family: John, Debbie, Johnny, Charles and Angela— The Weiss family has been involved in environmental volunteerism for 30 years. They teach about the value of Minnesota’s native plant and animal habitat, resource management and help in animal rehabilitation. They also raise money for local environmental causes, monitor water quality in the Zumbro River and help with cleanups, trail work, tree planting and collecting native seeds.

First Homes— Rochester Area Foundation First Homes established its own green building policies and works to engage residents on creating sustainable neighborhoods. First Homes has completed 10 Green Communities Certified Substantial Rehabilitation projects and recently completed the first LEED for Homes Silver multi-family building in southern Minnesota.

Pace Dairy— In 2011, Pace Dairy established a sustainability team to develop a company-wide effort to reduce waste and become more energy efficient. Since the inception of the program, Pace has reduced the company’s overall energy use by nearly 13 percent through operational and equipment changes and by encouraging employees to identify energy-saving ideas.

RNeighborWoods and Friedell Middle School— Last spring, RNeighborWoods worked with students and staff members at the Friedell Middle School to create a butterfly garden and outdoor classroom at the school. Friedell students use the garden as an outdoor learning space to develop observational and experimental skills.

Summer of Service Program— Since 2005, the Rochester Community Education’s Summer of Service program has implemented a variety of service learning projects about properly managing storm water and protecting local water resources. Students helped create a rain garden, planted native plants, marked more than 1,000 storm drains, placed more than 1,800 storm water education door hangers at homes and businesses and collected nearly a ton of trash.

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