Environmental Awards 2020

The 2020 Sonoma County Environmental Awards were presented at the SCCC & Sierra Club Sonoma Group’s
Holiday Networking and Environmental Awards Event

December 4, 2020


Inspiring Youth Awards

Jamie Nakama, the Youth Program Manager at Landpaths, excels at environmental education and bringing children out into nature. Even in the midst of a pandemic she organized a safe summer camp for kids and created multi-media zoom lessons for teachers and parents. Jamie is committed to justice and equity and is training and mentoring the most diverse team of environmental educators in the county.


Janina Turner, Energy Program Coordinator, The Climate Center. Janina tackles the climate crisis from every angle: education, policy and protest. Her work has focused on expanding Community Choice Energy within California as well as organizing with the Sunrise Movement in Sonoma County, a youth-led movement to stop the climate crisis while creating millions of good jobs. She inspires those around her to fight for what’s right from climate to racial justice.

Local Produce Rescue

While best known as a top local chef, Duskie Estes has been a committed and dynamic sustainability advocate for many years, while supporting local food and small farmers. Recently she has focused on the issue of food waste through her work as the Executive Director of Farm to Pantry, connecting the dots between food waste as one of the top drivers of climate change, and the urgent need for food for families in our community.

2020 Ernestine I. Smith “Environmentalists of the Year” Forest Champions

2020 has been Northern California’s fourth consecutive year of major wildfires, one of the many serious consequences of climate change. As our forests transition to adapt to climate change, people must adapt as well. While continuing to protect the traditional roles of forest as wildlife habitat and an essential element of watersheds, we must re-think our relationships with fire and the landscape to safely adapt human communities to wildfire while maximizing carbon storage in forests and other ecosystems.

We would like to honor three leaders who are addressing these issues:

Rick Coates, Director of Forest Unlimited, has worked on forest protection for decades, collaborating, organization-building, educating, and planting trees. Under his watch, Forest Unlimited has marshalled volunteers to plant over 33,000 redwoods and oaks, form watershed groups, and oppose local logging of old growth and other irreplaceable forest areas.

Chris Poehlmann, in his 15 years volunteering (7 as President) with Friends of the Gualala River, led successful movements to stop several major logging, vineyard and development projects in north-west Sonoma County. Chris was instrumental in pulling together legal action, fundraising, protests, publicity, and collaboration with other environmental groups to stop these projects, which would have hugely impacted the forests and watersheds in the north-west county.

Maya Khosla is a Wildlife Biologist, Film Maker and Writer. Her background and interests converged following the 2007 fires to make her an unparalleled communicator about fire and forest ecosystems. Her films, Searching for the Gold Spot, and Firewise: The Scientists Speak, raise urgent questions about the current approaches to fire safety in the Wildland-Urban Interface and the demand for forest ‘thinning’ by timber and biomass industries.

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