Prestigious award honors Vermonters making a difference for state’s wildlife, natural areas
RUTLAND—Seeking to honor a leading Vermont environmentalist and the legacy of a legendary wildlife advocate, Green Mountain Power (GMP) is calling for nominations for the 12th annual GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award.
Named for famed osprey advocate Meeri Zetterstrom, the award is given to one person, business, group or non-profit that has made a significant contribution to Vermont’s environment. The award includes a $2,500 donation to the winner’s environmental cause.
“Meeri’s legacy continues to inspire Vermonters,” said GMP Vice President Steve Costello, who worked closely with Zetterstrom for many years. “As ospreys have continued their expansion in Vermont, and more Vermonters have witnessed their beauty and athleticism, her reputation and the symbolism of her work have continued to grow.”
Zetterstrom, a passionate wildlife advocate, was a key leader in a statewide initiative to restore ospreys in Vermont. Despite long odds, indifference by others, and years of effort without success, Zetterstrom was an impassioned advocate who remained focused on her goal.
Zetterstrom lived in a small cabin with a bird’s-eye view of Lake Arrowhead in Milton, and in the 1980s was among the first to notice when a couple of ospreys returned to fish the lake’s waters after their near extinction in Vermont in the 1940s. Her vision, collaboration and leadership prompted utilities, the state, and private landowners to work together, and ultimately led to the resurgence of ospreys over the next 25 years.
Thanks in part to Zetterstrom’s leadership, ospreys were removed from the endangered species list in 2005, and the Zetterstrom Award was created shortly before she died in 2010.
Nominations for the GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award will be accepted through Feb. 28, and the winner will be announced in early spring. For a nomination application and more information, visit greenmountainpower.com.
The 11 past GMP-Zetterstrom Award recipients are:
Sally Laughlin, a scientist whose work was instrumental in restoring three species of endangered birds in Vermont;
Michael Smith, the founder of Rutland’s Pine Hill Park;
Margaret Fowle, who led Vermont’s peregrine falcon restoration program;
The Lake Champlain Committee, which works to protect and improve Lake Champlain;
Kelly Stettner, who founded the Black River Action Team in southern Vermont;
Roy Pilcher, founder of the Rutland County Chapter of Audubon;
Lake Champlain International, a nonprofit working to protect, restore and revitalize Lake Champlain and its communities;
Marty Illick of the Lewis Creek Association;
Steve Parren, a biologist for the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife;
Eric Hanson, a biologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, who helped save endangered loons in Vermont; and
Brian Lowe, who has helped hundreds of American kestrels successfully hatch and fledge in Vermont over two decades.