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GMP seeks nominees for 2013 Zetterstrom Award

8--GMP-seeks -nom --Osprey -photo -courtesy -of -Steve -Costello

To honor her lasting legacy and continuing environmental work by Vermonters, Green Mountain Power has called for nominations for the 2013 GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award, named for famed osprey advocate Meeri Zetterstrom.

The GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award was originally created by Central Vermont Public Service in 2010, and is presented annually to one person, business, group or non-profit to honor a significant contribution to Vermont's environment.  It will be accompanied by a $2,500 donation to the winner's environmental cause.

"The award highlights the ongoing efforts of some of Vermont's most forward-thinking environmentalists," said GMP President and CEO Mary Powell. "We will continue to solicit nominations and honor a special Vermonter each year to highlight Meeri's legacy as part of our ongoing commitment to Vermont's air, land and water."

Zetterstrom inspired countless Vermonters through her dogged efforts to protect and restore Vermont's osprey population.
"Meeri had an innate ability to connect people with nature and explain the importance of conservation and wildlife preservation," said Steve Costello, a GMP vice president, who worked with Zetterstrom on osprey conservation.  "She inspired me personally and helped start and lead a statewide conversation that led directly to the preservation and recovery of ospreys, and ultimately their removal from Vermont's endangered species list."

Zetterstrom's efforts began at Lake Arrowhead, where she lived and which straddles the border of Milton and Georgia, Vt.  Her requests - and demands - for assistance from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and utilities prompted a long-running effort to educate Vermonters about the birds and help them expand their range in the Green Mountain State.

With a bird's-eye view of the lake, Zetterstrom was among the first to notice when ospreys returned to fish Arrowhead's waters after their near extinction in the 1940s.  Starting in 1988, the state and CVPS began cooperating to assist the ospreys, creating artificial nesting platforms, buffer zones and educational materials to provide the birds a fighting chance. GMP began a similar effort.

A decade later, the first osprey chick in memory hatched and fledged at Lake Arrowhead, and seven years later, the birds' revival allowed their removal from the Vermont Endangered Species List. 

Past award recipients include Sally Laughlin, a leading wildlife advocate and scientist whose work was instrumental in restoring three species of endangered birds in Vermont; Michael Smith, the founder and driving force behind Rutland's Pine Hill Park; and Margaret Fowle, who has long led Vermont's peregrine falcon restoration program, which is responsible for their return from the brink of extinction.

Nominations for the GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award will be accepted through March 15, and the winner announced in the spring. The winner will be chosen by a panel of GMP employees with responsibilities related to land management, resource protection, community relations and education, and environmental compliance. 

Nominations may be made by the nominee or by any other entity, and should demonstrate a commitment of the nominee to benefit Vermont, its land, air or water, wildlife, or the enjoyment of the outdoors by others.  This may be through educational efforts, environmental stewardship, resource rehabilitation, protection or preservation, or conservation.  The award is intended to support environmental protection and inspire individuals to benefit Vermont's environment.  Vermonters of any age may be nominated.

For a nomination application and more information, visit www.greenmountainpower.com.