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Twelve organizations presented a total of 21 awards celebrating the efforts, dedication and accomplishments of a wide variety of recipients. Each presenting organization at the Awards Luncheon determines their own award criteria and selection process as well as their own physical manifestation of their awards- often making for creative and unique works of art in addition to being meaningful keepsakes for the recipients.
Choose Environmental Excellence provides a venue bringing together local environmental/conservation agencies and organizations and recognizes those who have made special contributions toward their respective missions. Each organization determines at the Awards Luncheon their own award criteria and selection process and their own physical manifestation of their awards – often making for creative and unique works of art in addition to being meaningful keepsakes for the recipients.
The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, showcases accomplishments that further the protection of Springfield's drinking water resources. The Watershed Committee is now celebrating their 32nd year. Mike Kromrey, Executive Director presented their award.
Jon Williams has spent his career as a stormwater engineer and has worked with Greene County for over 9 years. He has a great attention to detail and dedication to water resources. There are very few aspects of the Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill site that Jon didn’t help create. He was instrumental in designing the stormwater best management practices for the Watershed Center, and numerous other Center projects like the wetland boardwalk, springside learning station, waterfowl blind, a trail-connecting bridge, the Becky Shannon Memorial, and much more. His contributions continually enable teaching people about water resources.
The Ozarks Headwaters Recycling and Materials Management District (formerly Solid Waste Management District “O”) Executive Board members recognize efforts toward waste reduction and recycling with their Environmental Service Awards. District "O" covers the counties of Christian, Polk, Dallas, Greene and Webster. Tim Smith, Board Chair, presented the awards.
Denzil Roberts, Polk County Commissioner, was an early member of the District O Executive Board. He has been one of the most faithful Board meeting attendees and has served the District well. Under his tenure as Polk County Commissioner, he was unwavering in his support of the mission of District O both at the local and state levels. He was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Polk County Recycling Center and worked hand in hand with former Polk County Recycling Coordinator Donnie Lipe to ensure its success. His leadership was integral to the early and continued success of the District.
Bill Barnett, Christian County Commissioner, has served on the District O Executive Board for over a decade. He has made it a priority to attend regularly and he has willingly served on the Grant Evaluation Committee several years. Commissioner Barnett was always very vocal in his support of District O staff and the importance of their work, especially in recent years, when the Solid Waste Management Districts were threatened by various pieces of state legislation. He has always been committed to “doing the right thing,” both in terms of protecting the environment and in serving the Executive Board. Commissioner Barnett is retiring after this year and his leadership on the Board will be greatly missed.
Robert Hamilton, former Waste District O Planner, was a true District O original. He started in 1997 as a part-time recycling coordinator in Webster County and was eventually drafted as the District O Planner in 2000. During his years serving the District, he was instrumental in implementing various recycling projects in the 5 county area and provided input and leadership during legislative changes and rule-making processes in Jefferson City. His tenure also included adopting the name Ozarks Headwaters Recycling & Materials Management District to better reflect the District’s mission. Robert recently retired from the District (actually, this was his third lifetime retirement overall) but his legacy remains.
The Springfield/Greene County Environmental Advisory Board presented two awards recognizing businesses, agencies, groups or individuals that have gone beyond normal practices to promote improve or support sustainable environmentally conscious activities. Chair, David Vaughan made the presentations.
Ozark Greenways is celebrating their 25 year anniversary this year – created by a group of concerned citizens who shared a common goal to build a network of greenway trails throughout Springfield. Back in 1991, that took perseverance and a unique vision. Today, because of this local movement, our community enjoys the many benefits that bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure brings to families, individuals, businesses and communities. Over 68 miles of greenway trails are now available – on-the-ground proof of their commitment to a plan for over 120 miles of greenway trails throughout Springfield. Just think what can be accomplished in the next 25 years! Mike Chiles, Board President accepted the award on behalf of Ozark Greenways.
Linda Chorice was also presented an award by the Springfield-Greene County Environmental Advisory Board. Linda has been with the Missouri Department of Conservation since 1984 and with the Springfield Conservation Nature Center since its opening in 1988. Less than a year after beginning as a naturalist at the Nature Center, Linda became the Center’s Assistant Manager, remaining in this position for 9 years before becoming the Center’s manager in 1997.
In 2009, she received the MDC’s Outreach and Education Division’s Award of Excellence for her outstanding leadership, especially for her efforts in partnering with many organizations in Springfield to offer many special events to help further the messages of conservation and environmental excellence. Linda is often described as being dedicated, professional, organized and someone who can always be depended upon to offer encouragement and support to the many individuals and organizations that enjoy the Springfield Conservation Nature Center.
The Ozarks Clean Air Alliance, a subcommittee of the Environmental Collaborative of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks, presented an award recognizing efforts made to benefit the health of citizens in the region through air quality protection and improvement. Natasha Longpine, Immediate Past-Chair, presented the award.
City Utilities of Springfield has an impressive list of successful efforts designed to control or reduce emissions from their power plants. Examples include:
• Completed conversion of electrostatic precipitators to pulse-jet fabric filters (i.e., baghouses) in 2015 to control particulates and acid gases, increased particulate matter control efficiencies from 96% to greater than 99.5%. • Powered Activated Carbon (PAC) used to control emissions of mercury below 1 pound per trillion Btu, equivalent to acontrol efficiency in excess of 84%.
• Since 2011, CU reduced its total pollutant emission rate for SO2, NOx and PM by 55% (6.8 to 3.1 pounds per megwatt-hour). The story is more significant when you compare 2015 to 1995 emission rates (18.0 to 3.1 lb/MWh) or a reduction of 83%. These significant emission reductions occur following the addition of JTEC Unit 2.• Historically, CU emissions (total tons emitted) from its affected units exceeded 27,000 tons in 1990, compared to less than 4,000 tons in 2015.
• CU invested in cutting edge technology by entering into a 25-year purchase power agreement for a 5 MW Solar Photovoltaic Farm with the installation of over 22,000 solar panels before project completion in June 2014. The farm produces 9.6 million KWh per year of renewable energy available to CU customers. At the time, the largest solar project in the State of Missouri.• CU is committed to renewable energy as seen with their recent investment in a 200 MW wind farm in Oklahoma.
• In 2015, CU discontinued the use of coal at its James River Power Station. The facility was originally constructed to burn 100% natural gas and is returning to its roots. Scott Miller, General Manager of City Utilities of Springfield accepted the award.
The second award from Ozarks Clean Air Alliance was presented to the Community Partnership of the Ozarks Community Collaborative Initiative. The Collaborative Initiative was created in 1993 in response to complex social problems in our community. A baseline community assessment led to the creation of collaboratives to address critical issues in the community at that time – to bring service providers and consumers together in an effort to work together to avoid duplication of services and to identify and address gaps in service. Over the years, the issues of focus continue to evolve and change, but the mission is the same. One present-day issue of concern is air quality. To address this issue, the Ozarks Clean Air Alliance was established as a subcommittee of the Environmental Collaborative, to protect and improve our local and regional air quality. OCAA is recognizing CPO for their longstanding support of the Alliance and for including environmental issues in their community and regional outreach activities. CPO has seen to it that the environment has a place at the table. Janet Dankert, CPO Executive Director accepted the award.
The Tree City USA Citizens Advisory Committee recognized efforts toward protecting and enhancing Springfield's community forest. Jane Earnhart, Chair, made the presentation. Sarah Davis, City of Springfield Environmental Services, Stormwater Technician is one recipient of this award. Sarah's work with the Department is an integral part of continued improvement of tree preservation and protection in both public and private development projects. One of Sarah's many roles in her position is to issue and inspect Land Disturbance Permits. Sarah has worked with her team to include tree protection measures as an item on their checklist for a properly installed SWPPP (Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans). Countless trees and other vegetation have been protected and preserved and in turn have minimized erosion and assisted in protection of our water quality. Sarah has implemented training for private developers, contractors and Springfield's construction inspection work group including the SWPP Best Management Practices, which include tree protection measures. Sarah shows great understanding of how water quality, air quality and quality of life are directly affected by the presence of our trees.
TCUSACAC understands that to really make an impact in our community we need to work together as a team and often look in unlikely places to create new partnerships. This has certainly been the case for the committee's CEE Award recipients this year. The second recipient serves a different community role, but with a common goal of doing the right thing.
Kathy Davis, City of Springfield Public Works, Tree Canopy Program Administrator was the recipient of their second award. Kathy's work with the Public Works Department is a critical part of the City’s internal Tree Canopy Preservation and Restoration Policy. Kathy has worked with consultants, Public Works Project Managers and contractors to develop our tree preservation specification and drawing details that were included in tree protection training and SWPPP inspections mentioned earlier. Kathy works tirelessly to ensure that proper tree protection is specified, installed and maintained throughout the life of our City construction projects and assists with private development as requested by other departments. She tracks over 100 projects in various stages of design and construction to help Project Managers maximize the tree canopy that is preserved on their projects. Since the Tree Canopy Preservation and Restoration Policy was adopted by Parks and Public Works in 2011, Kathy's efforts have resulted in the preservation of over 27 acres of canopy and 18 acres of canopy restored on or near these sites.
It isn't often recognition is given to a mother/daughter duo. These two more than deserve this recognition due to their individual contributions. In addition to the gifts and awards presented today, the Tree City USA Citizen Advisory Committee will register a tree in each of their names and place it in their big book of trees.
The Greater Ozarks Audubon Society recognized exemplary efforts toward their mission of promoting bird conservation in southwest Missouri. Dr. Janice Greene, Vice President, presented the award.
Jim Fossard is a man who has a true passion for conservation and the environment. He is a long time GOAS member, has served as a board member and is currently serving as their Secretary. Jim is also the chair of their Conservation Committee, and has been their voice in conservation issues for many years.
He has a long history of submitting “letters to the editor” to the Springfield News-Leader championing conservation best practices for habitat restoration and public lands management. And, he has served on Chapter committees to develop Greater Ozarks Audubon position statements over several years. He is currently leading a GOAS project to establish a Chimney Swift Tower in Springfield. For his many years of service and dedication, Greater Ozarks Audubon Society recognized Jim Fossard.
The Environmental Collaborative of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks will recognized efforts exemplifying partnering and collaborating to foster an appreciation of the role that a healthy natural environment plays in the health and well being of the southwest Missouri region. Mandy Hagseth, Director of Community Collaborative Initiative, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, presented the award.
Moore’s Trash Service is a small, family owned business, offering trash collection and recycling services to customers in the Springfield area. They have been in business, literally, for generations. Moore’s is dedicated to providing quality service at a reasonable price, but they are also committed to helping the community become a better place. Moore’s became involved in the Safe and Sanitary Homes Collaborative in 2014. This particular collaborative was formed to address the problem of hoarding and to work with Springfield residents that needed assistance to clean out and organize their homes, with the goal of creating a safe environment both for the residents and for the first responders that, unfortunately, may find themselves responding to calls in these homes.The Safe and Sanitary Homes Collaborative has very limited funding and depends largely upon volunteers and donated services to address the usually 30 or so active cases they serve. Moore’s has graciously waived the cost of dumpsters and absorbed the cost of landfill fees, in order to help the Collaborative remove large amounts of trash and debris from these homes. Because of Moore’s Trash, Safe and Sanitary Homes has been able to assist many residents (as many as 60 cases to date), thus making a huge impact not only on their lives, but on the surrounding neighborhood and on the safety of our first responders. Vickie Ball accepted the award for Moore's Trash Service.
The Springfield Plateau Chapter Missouri Master Naturalists recognized the outstanding contributions of an individual toward conservation of the natural environment. Alane Roy, President, made the presentation.
Jay Barber was chosen to receive the Master Naturalist Choose Environmental Excellence Award because of his exceptional positive impact on environmental and conservation education in our schools and with the local Master Naturalist organization. A much admired advisor, mentor and educator, Jay has inspired and facilitated more than 7000 hours of environmental volunteerism by Master Naturalist members in just the past year. As a Missouri Conservation Education Consultant, with the Missouri Department of Conservation for just under 22 years, he shares his knowledge, experience and passion for environmental education with hundreds of teachers and thousands of students, often times donating many hours out of his own evenings and weekends. Jay Barber was recognized for his exceptional efforts in furthering the conservation mission through his education endeavors. His dedication, his efforts, and especially his sense of humor are much appreciated. He is a role model the Master Naturalists aspire to be.
The Missouri State University Sustainability Advisory Committee recognizes efforts demonstrating a sustained commitment to environmental excellence, programming that makes an impact on environmental excellence and outcomes that indicate that the award winner is making a difference. Co-chairs Matt Morris, Vice President for Administrative & Information Services and Dr. Tamera Jahnke, Dean of the College of Natural & Applied Sciences made the presentation. Two awards were presented.
Missouri State University’s Dining Services--Chartwell’s, was recognized for the leadership role they have taken in the area of sustainability for a number of years. Their sustainability initiatives focus on four key areas: environment, purchasing initiatives, community, and nutrition and wellness. MSU’s Dining Services uses an electronic dashboard called Carbon Footprint to measure a variety of metrics. This has allowed them to make important strategic decisions over the past several years. In the past year, 360,000 pounds of organic waste have been composted, 500,000 gallons of water have been saved as a result of trayless dining, and 8,000 reusable water bottles have been distributed to students. While all of this is great, it appears that they are not done. Dining Services has just purchased hydroponic towers to grow herbs and greens all year round in the dining centers.Tony Hein accepted the award for Chartwell’s.
Missouri State University Sustainability Advisory Committee also recognized a “Champion of Sustainability” – Max Wagner for his work while a student at the University. Max Wagner is a senior Administrative Management major, minoring in History. He currently serves as the Student Government Association’s Director of University Advancement. Max has been heavily involved in sustainability throughout his career at Missouri State University. Beginning his freshman year, he served on the Student Government Association Sustainability Committee. As a sophomore, he served as the SGA Director of Sustainability, and, as a junior, he was elected SGA Chief Sustainability Commissioner. He led the initiative to establish a Zipcar car-sharing program on campus and co-wrote the proposal for the Solar Stop, the first ever large scale solar project on campus.
The James River Basin Partnership recognizes outstanding efforts to protect the water quality in the James River Basin. Tiffany Frey, Executive Director, will presented their award.
Joe Pitts a lifetime educator and the retired Director of the James River Basin Partnership began his career with a passion for teaching and for the environment. This fire burned throughout his life as he dedicated his time to environmental protection and sharing his broad knowledge with others, creating hosts of other environmental advocates along the way. Joe spent nearly 35 years working in the environmental field with the last 6 years being spent as the Director of the James River Basin Partnership. This was not just a job for Joe but was work done out of love for our local waters. This love and dedication ran deep. Occasionally he would come out of his office holding Aldo Leopold’s’ book “A Sand County Almanac”, and read a passage out loud to the rest of the staff. These moments offered motivation and focus, reminding us why we were spending so many hours behind a computer when what we most wanted was to be outdoors. Many times he went to bat for JRBP, having the difficult conversations and even turning down a raise out of a desire to see the organization thrive in order to fulfill its mission. Joe was recognized for the environmental excellence he brought throughout his career but especially for what he brought to the James River Basin Partnership and to our local community.
Ozark Greenways, Inc. recognizes efforts toward meeting the organization's mission of preserving green space through linear parks (greenways/trails). Board President, Mike Chiles, presented the award.
At 25 years old, our community trail system has now officially spanned a generation! Some local families have three (or more!) generations of family members who enjoy bicycling, walking or running on Springfield’s 68-mile network of greenway trails.
Ozark Greenways is honored to have recognized a true “Greenway Family” this year - the Montgomery Family - and their business, G & P Truck Line – for their multi-generational dedication and service to developing Springfield’s greenway trail network over the last 20 years. The Montgomery family are avid trail users lead by patriarch, Monty Montgomery, with sons, Gabe and John, daughter, Morgan, and many extended family members. Monty and John also work together in their business, G & P Truck Line. Monty served as president of the Ozark Greenways Board of Directors in 2006, and three board terms. His son, John, served as board president in 2013, and continues to serve as an officer. Gabe, John, Morgan and Monty have volunteered countless weekends to help Ozark Greenways over the last two decades. They were creators and strong supporters of the Ozark Greenways Adventure Race for the 15 years the event was held, and just a few years ago, John created the wildly popular Dogwood Canyon trail running event as part of the Bass Pro Fitness Festival, to raise money for the work of Ozark Greenways. The Montgomery Family represents the multi-generational impact that our trails have on families in Springfield. “Trails for Generations” is the legacy that these award recipients today personify. They should feel proud to know their efforts benefit generations today and generations to come. Monty, Gabe, and John Montgomery accepted the award.
The City of Springfield – Department of Environmental Services will be presented awards in four categories recognizing outstanding performance by businesses, industries, individuals or groups toward protecting the natural environment of our community and region.
The City’s Air Quality Division is committed to preserving and improving the air quality of Springfield and the surrounding region. Air Quality Control Coordinator, Brain Adams presented the Choose Environmental Excellence Award from the City’s Air Quality Division to Mercy. This is the 5th anniversary of the Joplin EF5 tornado that destroyed the St. John’s Hospital in Joplin on May 22, 2011. Now called Mercy Hospital Springfield and Mercy Hospital Joplin both deserve commendation for their efforts in the assistance of both communities until Joplin’s new hospital opened on March 22, 2015. Each campus has sufficiently reduced their air emissions as well by using high-efficiency boilers in their energy centers. Mercy’s system-wide commitment to sustainability is evidenced by their Green Department and Sustainability Program. The Sustainability Program also allows Mercy staff to participate in their energy management, waste reduction and recycling efforts while sharing best work practices and innovations. 2016 marks the 125th anniversary of the Sisters of Mercy who began St. John’s Hospital here in Springfield in 1891. Paul Vitzthum accepted the award for Mercy.
The City’s Stormwater Quality Division works to protect and improve water quality through programs and projects that address stormwater pollution and the health of aquatic and riparian ecosystems. Water Quality Coordinator Carrie Lamb presented their award.
The City’s Stormwater Quality Division recognized the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society (GOAS) as their 2016 recipient. In 1999, South Creek between National and Campbell had become a maintenance concern for the City. Drastic removal of woody vegetation and sediment to form a grass channel was being considered. Greater Ozarks Audubon Society advocated to preserve the trees and vegetation and entered into an agreement with the City to help keep the channel free of debris and maintain the vegetation as valuable native habitat for birds and wildlife in the midst of the urban environment. Since this agreement began, GOAS volunteers have spent thousands of hours removing brush, trash, and invasive species, and planting natives along this one mile stretch. In 2015 alone, they spent 635 hours on these activities. With the increasing recognition of the benefits of healthy riparian corridors and the recent completion of a restoration project just downstream, the importance of this work and the magnitude of GOAS's commitment over the past 17 years can't be overstated. Without their hard work, this stretch of South Creek would not be the thriving example of native habitat for wildlife and people that it is today. Kay and Betty Johnson accepted the award for the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society.
The City’s Clean Water Services Division is charged with the responsibility of the collection, transport and treatment of millions of gallons of sewage through network of pipes and award-winning wastewater treatment facilities. John Waitman, Environmental Compliance Officer, presented the first award.
Ralph Siccama is the Environmental Coordinator for Dairy Farmers of America. Mr. Siccama has been very aggressive and proactive in ensuring that DFA’s sewer infrastructure is maintained in such a manner to prevent accidental spills. Mr. Siccama has instituted an internal plumbing lateral and manhole inspection program at DFA to ensure that all sewer infrastructure is maintained to protect the environment. In addition, on May 14, 2015, Mr. Siccama informed the City of an accidental illegal discharge to both the wastewater collection system and to the local stormwater conveyance system impacting Jordan Creek. Without being contacted by Ralph, the City would not have been made aware of this negative impact on the environment. Also, Mr. Siccama is the Greene County LEPC Executive Committee Chairman and is very involved with community disaster preparedness, hazardous materials shipping, safety, and regulatory compliance, emergency response training and readiness that protects Springfield’s natural resources as well as citizens and visitors in Springfield.
The City’s Clean Water Services Division also presented an award in recognition of a groundbreaking project for our community. Superintendent of Clean Water Services, Mike DeLong, made the presentation to TREKK Design Group.
Springfield’s Private Sewer Repair Program is one of the first successful private I&I (Infiltration and Inflow) programs in Missouri, a culmination of more than 20 years of improvements to its wastewater collection and treatment systems. The City launched the Private Sewer Repair Program with a goal of eliminating sewer overflows and basement backups caused by stormwater entering the wastewater collection system via sewer lines on private property. Through a cooperative effort, the Program would determine if private I&I reduction could reduce excess flows and save ratepayers’ money. The Program has achieved a 42% reduction in I&I flow into the sanitary sewer. For every dollar spent on repairing and tightening up the lines on private property, the City avoids spending $11 in future capacity improvements at the wastewaster treatment plants. That is an 11 to 1 return on the investment. This Program gives other communities a template to develop partnerships with their ratepayers to comply with regulations, improve health and lower treatment and improvement costs. Kimberly Robinett and Matt Ridpath with TREKK Design Group accepted the award.
The Solid Waste Management Division oversees and implements the voter-approved Integrated Solid Waste Management System. Errin Kemper, Assistant Director of Environmental Services, presented the Division’s award recognizing innovative environmental stewardship in industrial waste reduction.
When you think of Hiland Dairy, you think of milk and ice cream, but did you know Hiland also produces Red Diamond iced tea? For several years, Hiland staff have been looking for a way to recycle their spent tea bags – lots of large tea bags. Plant Manager, Darrell Washam, was both patient and persistent, and, finally, in 2015, following a dedicated building expansion amd several dry runs under his careful oversight, the tea bags (720 cubic yards of tea bags each year) became a welcome ingredient in the City’s very popular yardwaste compost. The tea bag recycling project is only one of many examples of Hiland Dairy’s strong and ongoing commitment to environmental excellence both locally and through their corporate system. Darrell Washam, Plant Manager, accepted the award for Hiland Dairy.
For more information, visit or contact: Barbara Lucks, Springfield-Greene County Choose Environmental Excellence, 417-864-2005 (office) [email protected]