Celebrating Conservation Efforts of Retiring Founder of Forterra
Gene Duvernoy’s life work has been protecting King County’s “island of green” for future generations.
The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized Duvernoy, the retiring founder of the conservation group Forterra, declaring April 26, 2019 “Gene Duvernoy Day” in honor of his work.
“The impact that Gene has had on the present and future health of the physical and social environments in the state of Washington is unmeasurable and unmistakable,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, sponsor of the recognition. “It is my privilege to honor a man who has done, and continues to do, so much to ensure the sustainability of our County and our State.”
When Duvernoy founded Forterra almost thirty years ago, it was known as the Cascade Land Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to securing land in the Pacific Northwest for a sustainable future. Since its creation, Forterra has completed 450 transactions, helping to conserve over 275,000 acres of land in Washington.
“As founder of Forterra, Gene Duvernoy has worked for three decades to set and to implement our region’s agenda for the conservation of forests and farmlands, and has personally overseen the preservation of some 275,000 acres of irreplaceable land,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Gene’s efforts to protect the environment and our communities will benefit Pacific Northwest residents for years to come.”
Under Duvernoy, Forterra established the Cascade Agenda, an internationally recognized 100-year plan created to help conserve 1.3 million acres of forest and farmland in Washington, while paying heed to the health of the cities and towns surrounding it.
Another highlight of Forterra’s work is the over $10 million raised for the Forterra Strong Communities Fund funds that are being used to help restore ownership of homes and businesses to African-Americans in Seattle’s historically-Black Central District, as well as to creating a marketplace and affordable housing for the Somali community in the City of Tukwila.
“Gene Duvernoy has made outstanding contributions to our quality of life but just as important he has exhibited the best of what we have we have to offer our community,” said former King County Councilmember Larry Phillips. “We are all fortunate to have him working and living among us. He’s a stellar guy because he brings out the best in us.”
Duvernoy is transitioning into a “working retirement,” staying with Forterra as President Emeritus and special advisor to Michelle Connor, his successor as president and CEO. He will also chair Earth Day Northwest 2020; an organization that aims to bring Earth Day into a new era, with a focus on “protecting the environment; increasing equity and inclusion; and improving our communities.” He also continues to serve King County by heading the Eastside Rail Corridor Funding Commission.