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Keep Indian River Beautiful hosted another successful Environmental Awards Luncheon Friday, Feb. 24 at the Oak Harbor Clubhouse and presented by Republic Services. More than 125 people attended the luncheon, including Indian River Commissioners Flesher, O’Bryan and Solari, and the mayor of Vero Beach, Laura Moss. The Environmental Awards are public nominations that recognize local environmental heroes for all their hard work in the community.
Each year the people in our community are encouraged to nominate a person, group, or business that did something positive for the environment. The nominees were reviewed by a panel of five independent judges, including Commissioner Joe Flesher, and the winners were selected based off a numerical rating system. Commissioner Flesher spoke at the ceremony, giving praise to the people in our community for making it a better place for the youth to grow up in, and even announced the nominees and winner of the Environmental Youth Award.
Environmental Youth Award
WINNER: Environmental Learning Center Junior Interpreter Program
NOMINEES: Wolf Pack #567, Pelican Island Elementary Garden Club, Indian River Taekwando
Environmental Small Business
WINNER: Dr. Kirchner’s Natural Weed Killer
NOMINEES: Aquatek Pro
Environmental Large Business
WINNER: Piper Aircraft
NOMINEES: Republic Services
WINNER: Lionfish Festival Committee
NOMINEES: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Vero Beach Country Club, Progressive Civic League of Gifford
Environmental Hero Award
WINNER: Blaine Bergstresser
NOMINEES: Debby Ecker, Sandy Theil, Kristen Hansen
Additionally, Keep Indian River Beautiful recognized individuals vital to their success in the past year including, Volunteer of the Year William Madigan and Monofilament Recycling and Recovery Program volunteer Laura Guttridge for more than 200 combined volunteer hours. Creative talent Doris Podosek was given the Upcycle Artist Award for her unique and creative upcycled items for sale at Keep Indian River Beautiful’s Upcycle It! Store located in the Indian River Mall near the Macy’s.
Lowes Heroes were recognized as Keep Indian River Beautiful’s Partner of the Year for sponsoring and participating in the Captain Forster’s Restoration Project. The beautiful park off of Jungle Trail was given a face lift back in December of 2016 thanks to $20,000 from the Lowes Community Impact Grant and Keep America Beautiful. The New Partner Award was given to UPS employees for sponsoring and helping to plant 75 trees at the Egret Marsh Stormwater Park through the UPS Community Tree Grant. Keith McCully, winner of the Government Collaborator Award, was crucial to the success of Egret Marsh project and increasing collaborative efforts between the county and Keep Indian River Beautiful.
There were several people unaware that they were receiving an award including Executive Director Daisy Packer who was given the Shining Star Award for her passion, dedication and vision to expand the organization and share its mission. Board Vice-President and Master of Ceremonies Anna Valencia-Tillery of White Glove Moving & Storage was also recognized with the Community Builder Award for her continuous efforts to connect people with ways to better the community.
This year, Keep Indian River Beautiful was also recognized with an Affiliate Award of Excellence at Keep America Beautiful’s National Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C. The Keep America Beautiful National Conference brought together more than 350 leaders from Keep America Beautiful’s national network of affiliates, business leaders, policymakers and other experts who shared innovative ideas and proven strategies to help End Littering, Improve Recycling, and Beautify America’s Communities.
Last Year's Environmental Award Winners & Nominees
Environmental Youth Award - Cori McWilliams
Nominee - Green Team at Vero Beach Boys and Girls Club
Environmental Organization Award- Pelican Island Audubon Society
Nominee - A.R.C. of Indian River County
Nominee - Indian River Estates
Nominee - Sebastian Junior Women's Club
Environmental Business Award- PakMail Beachside
Nominee - Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown
Nominee - Metamorphosis Salon
Environmental Champion - Toby Jarman, Power Squadron Environmental Committee
Nominee - Meredith Hickman
Environmental Awards Luncheon