From cleaning polluted stormwater to saving forests, farmlands and open space for public use, to designing environmentally friendly building regulations that save resources, the 2019 King County Green Globe Award winners honored today by Executive Dow Constantine are leading the ongoing efforts to improve environmental conditions for people and fish and wildlife across the region.
StoryEarth Day provided ideal timing for King County Executive Dow Constantine to present 13 Green Globe awards to businesses, cities, organizations, and individuals for the work they’re doing to protect and improve the local environment.
“Throughout King County, people, businesses, and nonprofits are doing extraordinary work to protect the spectacular natural environment that is central to our identity and our quality of life,” said Executive Constantine. “The Green Globe Award recipients we honor today inspire and challenge us to leave this special place even better for future generations.”
The Green Globe Awards are the County’s highest honor for local environmental efforts. Top honor this year — the 2019 Environmental Catalyst Award — went to the University of Washington for its world-renowned work in researching climate, climate change impacts and responding to climate change that range from global-scale assessments to studies that focus on the implications of climate change on the Puget Sound region’s communities and natural systems.
From Olympic Sculpture Park and a view of Puget Sound as a backdrop, Lisa Graumlich, Dean of the College of the Environment, accepted the award for UW with former U.S. Secretary of Interior and longtime UW Regent Sally Jewell looking on.
Executive Constantine also presented Gene Duvernoy, recently retired head of the land conservation organization Forterra, with a special award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Open Space Conservation. Duvernoy was honored for his lengthy career as one of the leading figures in preserving forests, urban green spaces, working farms, and other irreplaceable lands throughout the Puget Sound region.
2019 Green Globe Award winners
Leader in Community Stewardship: Eastside Audubon Society
Eastside Audubon has been active at King County’s Marymoor Park in Redmond for nearly 40 years, first conducting a bird survey of the park, then building a species checklist for the area. In 2006, Eastside Audubon partnered with King County Parks to take on stewardship of the Bird Loop Trail and adjacent natural areas. They continue their dedicated work to this day, counting 234 volunteers at habitat restoration events last year – which happens to be the exact number of bird species counted in the park.
Leaders in Open Space Conservation: City of Issaquah and Trust for Public Land
The City of Issaquah and Trust for Public Land partnered to acquire 46 acres of lushly forested property in the heart of the Mountains to Sound Greenway and adjacent King County’s Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park that had been slated for a housing development. After neighbors, open space and trails advocates instead suggested the land be preserved for its value as habitat and passive recreation activities, Issaquah and TPL were able to purchase the property from the developer.
Leader in Environmental Advocacy: Paulina Lopez, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition
Paulina Lopez is a community connector and trusted advocate in the Latinx and South Park communities. She has partnered with King County on environmental projects ranging from Spanish language versions of videos on safer cleaning products, to engaging communities in researching health indicators, and green stormwater infrastructure projects. She regularly participates in or supports audience research projects related to stormwater messaging. King County’s ability to engage Latinx communities would have been severely limited and superficial without her help and support.
Leader in Waste to Resources: Full Container Recovery
Full Container Recovery has worked to reduced waste for more than 20 years, recycling more than 21,000 gallons of food-grade beverages, food products and their by-products every day – including plastics, glass and aluminum. They partner with local farmers to convert ethanol and methanol into animal feed, compost, and energy. FCR is proud of the work they do and the relationships they’ve built, and they believe their business model is a road map that other businesses can use to eliminate food waste and create sustainable solutions.
Leader in Climate Justice: Mother Africa
This social and community advocacy services organization provides African refugees, immigrant women and families with resource referrals and direct support, offering the community space to connect with peers, opportunities to celebrate successes, and much more. One of King County’s first partners in the climate change communications transcreation project, the group helped develop an infographic in Arabic by using native language focus groups to assure its accuracy and cultural relevance. The infographic has been translated into Spanish, with Chinese translation coming next, and additional languages to follow.
Leader in Water Quality Solutions: Salmon-Safe and Clean Lake Union
Clean Lake Union and Salmon-Safe partnered with Mark Grey of Stephen Grey and Associates on a project to treat the 2 million gallons of polluted stormwater runoff flowing annually from the Aurora Bridge into the Lake Washington Ship Canal, where it impacts the health of migrating salmon and other aquatic species before flowing through the Ballard Locks into Puget Sound. The team designed and built raingardens and bioswales on nearby land with funding from Boeing, technical and design services by KPFF and Weber Thompson, and outreach support from The Nature Conservancy of Washington.
Leader in Salmon Recovery: Bellevue-Issaquah Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Bellevue-Issaquah Trout Unlimited is a founding and leading member of the Lake Sammamish Kokanee Work Group that is dedicated to stop the decline of the unique Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon. Their work spans the technical, political and financial aspects of this ongoing restoration effort. From conducting feasibility studies for restoring spawning creeks, to raising funding for their own staff position, as well as operating the fry traps and making annual spawner surveys, the group has steadfastly worked to give Lake Sammamish’s “Little Red Fish” a fighting chance at recovery.
Leader in Access to the Outdoors: The Wilderness Society
Believing that public lands should be enjoyed by all – and available to all – The Wilderness Society is committed to closing gaps and addressing inequities in the region’s parks and open spaces, and to facilitate connections to nature through creative transit and policy solutions. They are a strong supporter of Trailhead Direct – King County’s innovative public-private partnership offering transit-to-trails service to some of the most popular hiking destinations in King County. The Wilderness Society’s advocacy for policies, programs and investments help improve the health and well-being of local communities.
Leader in Community Resiliency: World Relief Seattle
World Relief Seattle designed and built a unique refugee and immigrant community garden for growing culturally appropriate crops from an unused church parking lot in Kent. Hillside Paradise Parking Plots features 44 in-ground garden beds and six ADA-accessible plots that is cared for by people representing 20 different countries. The project removed 29,000 square feet of asphalt, restored permeable ground for rainfall retention, and created a rainwater catchment system that not only provides garden irrigation, but infiltrates and cleans more than a million gallons of stormwater annually.
Leader in Green Stormwater Solutions: Young’s Restaurant
A Vietnamese-Chinese family owned business in White Center, Young’s Restaurant is the first restaurant to participate in the RainWise program which offers rebates to property owners who install green stormwater infrastructure. Supported by ECOSS and its language and multicultural environmental outreach expertise, Young’s installed three stormwater cisterns that will keep more than 11,000 gallons of runoff out of the combined sewer system each year. The King County – Seattle Public Utilities RainWise partnership recently established a “big roof” initiative expanding its work beyond residential structures to capture and divert stormwater from larger buildings.
Leader in Green Building: Miranda Redinger, City of Shoreline
A senior planner for the City of Shoreline, Miranda Redinger has been a leading green building advocate and participant in King County’s Countywide Green Building Task Force since its inception a decade ago. She has been actively involved in developing and adopting Shoreline’s green building code package that has evolved into the state’s first Deep Green incentive package for home construction projects. She continues to research and advocate for further opportunities for sustainable building in Shoreline and beyond – work that helps save resources while providing comfortable and highly functional living environments.