About Awards

The Sonoma County Environmentalist of the Year Award, initiated in 1975, recognizes people who made outstanding efforts to protect natural resources in Sonoma County, directly or indirectly, or advanced their better stewardship.

The Ernestine I. Smith Lifetime Environmental Achievement Award, started in 1994, is granted to persons recognized by the SCCC as having devoted a major part of their lives working for the conservation and improvement of the natural environment. Additionally the SCCC has made awards for Young Environmentalist of the Year; for Outstanding Educators, Projects and Programs; and for Special Recognitions.

Ernie Smith in 2006 at the Environmental Awards Dinner
Ernie Smith in 2006 at the Environmental Awards Dinner

In 2016 the SCCC Board merged the Sonoma County Environmentalist of the Year Award with the Ernestine I Smith Lifetime Environmental Commitment Award. This award is now called the Ernestine I. Smith Sonoma County Environmentalist of the Year Award.

Ernie Smith was one of the key early Conservation Council leaders and a long-standing Sonoma County environmentalist. This award recognizes Ernie’s inspirational legacy, her generation of trail-blazing environmental leaders, and environmental trail-blazers of today.

Awards by Year

If you’re nominating an individual or group for an Environmental Award, be sure to search the list below to make sure they haven’t already been an awardee.

Environmental Awards 2023Galen Freed-Wilhelm, Kathy Pons, Margaret Briare, Norman Gilroy, Sonia Taylor
Environmental Awards 2022Deborah Eppstein, Judith Olney, Marylee Guinon, Willard Richards
Environmental Awards 2021Cea Higgins, Don McEnhill, Michele Luna, Richard Retecki
Environmental Awards 2020Chris Poehlmann, Duskie Estes, Jamie Nakama, Janina Turner, Maya Khosla, Rick Coates
Environmental Awards 2019Pat Eliot, Ted Eliot, Woody Hastings
Environmental Awards 2018Betty Young, Caitlin Cornwall, Chris Brokate
Environmental Awards 2017Teri Shore
Environmental Awards 2015Kimberly Burr, Larry Hanson
Environmental Awards 2014Anne Teller, Stephen Fuller-Rowell, STRAW, Wendy Krupnick
Environmental Awards 2013Dennis Rosatti
Environmental Awards 2012Duane DeWitt, Nichole Warwick, Roger Raiche, Steve Birdlebough
Environmental Awards 2011Conservation Corps North Bay, John Herrick
Environmental Awards 2010Daily Acts, Jane Neilson, Trathen Heckman
Environmental Awards 2009Betty Burridge, Betty Guggholz, Cotati Creek Critters, David Keller, Jenny Blaker, Pachamama Alliance, Wade Belew
Environmental Awards 2008Brenda Adelman, Climate Protection Campaign, Cool Schools Program, Daisy Pistey-Lyhne, Iva Warner, Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy, Leadership Training for a Sustainable Future, Maitreyi Siriguri, Sonoma Academy Youth Program
Environmental Awards 2007Adventures in the Big Outdoors, Anne Hudgins, Bernie Album, City of Sebastopol Sustainability Program, In Our Own Backyard, Land Paths, Michael Teller, Sonoma County Conservation Action, Suzanne Doyle
Environmental Awards 2006Analy High School AP Statistics Class, Audubon Canyon Ranch, Bouverie Preserve Docents, Danny Bever, Dave Henson, Environmental Pilot Program, Jeff Tobes, Keith Kaulum, Madrone Audubon, Oak Grove Union School District, Peter Leveque, Phyllis Schmitt, Portia Sinnot, Russian River State Parks Environmental Education Program, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, The Student Commute Project, Tina Poles, Wendy Losee
Environmental Awards 2005Bonny Stene, Keith Kaulum, Ken Stocking, Marty Griffin, Pat Wiggins, Rue Furch
Environmental Awards 2004Ann Hancoock, Dave Casey, John Klobas, Peter Ashcroft
Environmental Awards 2003Ann Stroberger, Barbara Biebush, Fred Hall, Pavitra Crimmel
Environmental Awards 2002Krista McAtee, Margaret Pennington, Martha Bentley
Environmental Awards 2001Diane Hichwa, George Ellman, North Bay Science Project, Sharon Janulaw
Environmental Awards 2000Dick Day, Richard Day, Sharon Mansfield
Environmental Awards 1999Bill Kortum, David Neubacher, Marci Cook, Peeter Vilms
Environmental Awards 1998Christa Shaw, Chuck Rhinehart, Frances Tanti, Kathy Angell, Mike Heffernan
Environmental Awards 1997Jennifer Creeth, Len Swenson, Mark Green, Ron Head, Teresa Ramondo, Tom Furrer, United Anglers of Casa Grande High School
Environmental Awards 1996Anne Harris, Chris Peterson, Clark Nattkemper, Kathy Angell, Leslie Supan, Paula Fogarty, Sandra Elles
Environmental Awards 1995Barbara Meyn, Krista Rector
Environmental Awards 1994Ernestine Smith, Juliana Doms
Environmental Awards 1993Richard Charter
Environmental Awards 1992Dick Day, Richard Day
Environmental Awards 1991Joan Vilms
Environmental Awards 1990Elizabeth Eddins
Environmental Awards 1989Dee Swanhuyser
Environmental Awards 1988Helen Libeu
Environmental Awards 1987Brenda Adelman, Carol Vellutini
Environmental Awards 1986Bill Kortum, Lucy Kortum
Environmental Awards 1985David Thatcher, Len Swenson, Shirley Thatcher
Environmental Awards 1984Clark Nattkemper
Environmental Awards 1983Barbara Meyn
Environmental Awards 1982Joel Hedgpeth
Environmental Awards 1981Ken Stocking
Environmental Awards 1980Ernie Smith, Iva Warner, Martha Bentley
Environmental Awards 1979Virginia Hechtman
Environmental Awards 1978Chuck Rhinehart
Environmental Awards 1977John Crevelli
Environmental Awards 1975Chuck Hinkle, Jean Hinkle