2017 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients
The 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards recipients are:
- Mason Neck Lions Club
- McLean Citizens Association's Environment, Parks, and Recreation Committee and Churchill Road Elementary School
County Employee Award:
Glenda Booth's tireless and numerous efforts are perhaps best exemplified by an eight-page long list of community conservation activities that was submitted as an attachment to her nomination. Her current volunteer activities include: chairmanship of the Fairfax County Wetlands Board; presidency of Friends of Dyke Marsh; chairmanship of the Advocacy Committee of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia; service on the Environment Committee of the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Associations; work as editor of the Tauxemont Community Newsletter; service on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation; and membership in over a dozen other environmental organizations. Her nomination itself highlights several of Glenda's many accomplishments, including her leadership of efforts to secure $25 million dollars of funding to restore Dyke Marsh; her leadership of the Wetlands Board in adopting the first living shorelines policy in Virginia (preceding adoption of a similar state policy); and her authorship of numerous pieces of legislation. She has written extensively on a multitude of environmental topics and has been published in many local newspapers (including The Washington Post) and in numerous periodicals. Her nomination states: "Glenda continually strives for environmental excellence in all that she does and encourages, inspires, learns from and teaches others to do the same. She reaches out to others, establishing effective partnerships and collaborations with the goal of inspiring excellence and improving outcomes from projects or actions that impact our environment. She is a constant presence, monitoring for opportunities to provide public input on projects in ways that support Fairfax County's environmental goals. She asks well-informed and challenging questions of project proponents when aiming to improve development projects in ways that protect our natural resources. She challenges all to use science-based evidence to justify programs that impact non-target species and works hard to ensure protections for the entire ecosystem. Glenda inspires excellence in all with whom she interacts, leading by example, and has gained many followers."
Jim McGlone's nomination featured a series of supporting testimonials from environmental professionals and volunteers, each of whom spoke to his passion, commitment and knowledge on trees and the environment, as well as his dedication to supporting and nurturing those whose efforts have strengthened tree preservation and planting, environmental stewardship and environmental education. His nomination describes him as "the consummate teacher always bringing a passionate enthusiasm for the environment and follow workers, or the countless non-profit efforts that go on around the county." The testimonials described: "Jim's tireless efforts to learn, to teach and to accomplish many outstanding projects and programs;" "his voracious appetite for knowledge;" his long-time dedication and contributions to the Envirothon natural resources competition for high school students; his assistance in organizing plant rescue events and in offering assistance in assessments of forest value; his partnerships with many county, state and nonprofit agencies and organizations; and his role in the establishment of Fairfax Master Naturalists. He is described as a "tireless champion for the environment" with "passion and enthusiasm for changing how we interact with the environment . . . far beyond what most jobs entail." His nomination concludes: "Jim McGlone demonstrates a tireless commitment to environmental issues and is planting the seeds for the future everyday by teaching and inspiring others, which may be his greatest contribution of all."
The Mason Neck Lions Clubis a service club organization with 39 active members and, as outlined in its nomination, almost twice as many environmental accomplishments over the last ten years, in addition to a broader set of civic contributions that are referenced generally in the nomination. Included in the list of accomplishments are numerous community, highway, park, shoreline and stream clean-up events, graffiti removal efforts and tree planting projects. The nomination notes that "the Lions are out almost every weekend (rain or shine!) in the early spring organizing clean ups in their communities and along the streams and creeks of the South County area. They are planting trees at the local library, schools, and parks. They are marking storm drains, building benches and they have adopted several sections of highways via VDOT. They show up at public meetings and hearings to ensure that their message of the importance of a clean and healthy Fairfax County is heard."
The McLean Citizens Association's Environment, Parks, and Recreation Committee and the Churchill Road Elementary School are in the fourth year of a partnership through which EP&R sponsors the school's sixth grade EcoWeek in the adjacent Churchill Road Park, in cooperation with the Fairfax County Park Authority. The EcoWeek program has been designed to foster an environmental stewardship ethic among students by educating them about ecological stresses on the park and by getting them into the park to support restoration efforts, including the removal of invasive plants and the planting of native trees. The program includes classroom instruction on invasive plants and has also included an art component and a tree inventory in past years. The program is held the third week of May. In 2017, 157 students in six 6th grade classes participated in the program; they removed 168 bags of invasive vegetation and planted 30 trees; a total of 656 volunteer hours were contributed, and 12 acres of parkland were improved. As highlighted in the nomination, the program has numerous benefits as "students work in a Fairfax County Park, get physical exercise outside away from their electronic devices, learn stewardship of public property, build familiarity with the natural environment" and "they touch, see, and learn about plants in their natural setting." Students also "collaborate in team work and problem solving, have the experience of planting trees which become a permanent part of the park's ecosystem, and they earn community service hours." During the last two years, the program has been extended into the July Nature Camp sponsored by the school.
The MITRE Corporation is a not-for-profit company with one of its two headquarters offices in Tysons. It operates research and development centers sponsored by the federal government. The firm's nomination emphasizes its commitment to sustainability in its building design, building operations and employee commuting. Highlights include:
- Achievement of Gold certification for its newest building in Tysons through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®).
- Attainment of ENERGY STAR® scores of over 75 for two of its other office buildings in Tysons.
- Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from its Tysons campus by 7.3 percent, through a number of strategies, including LED lighting replacement projects.
- An extensive array of commuting options and incentives, including a commuter transportation subsidy and promotion of carpooling (including dedicated parking spaces), bicycling (showers, lockers and secure parking), walking, flexible work arrangements/telecommuting, public transit and discounted Zipcar memberships and Lyft. MITRE estimates that these efforts have collectively reduced total annual vehicle miles travelled by over 11 million miles, with a total employee savings in gasoline use of over 500,000 gallons.
Robert Aaront is a maintenance worker with the Fairfax County Park Authority. He has numerous maintenance responsibilities, but these responsibilities do not include the initiative he has taken to support recycling efforts and his many other volunteer efforts (environmental and non-environmental). His nomination notes that he collects trash at park sites in his maintenance area, sorts the trash by recycling category and hauls the recyclable materials, on his own time, to a recycling center. He also participates in multiple stream cleanup events and has campaigned to reduce litter through approval of requirements for deposits on recyclable items. His nomination states that he "is passionate about what he does. He brings out enthusiasm in other co-workers in a way that engages them to participate in environmentally friendly tasks such as recycling and properly disposing of hazardous materials, etc. He educates and brings awareness to others on how to do their part to preserve the environment and take part in activities they normally wouldn't."
Kambiz Agazi has served as Fairfax County's Environmental Coordinator since the position was created in 1998. His nomination recognizes that Dr. Agazi's contributions extend well beyond his official role: "Dr. Agazi's exceptional service and accomplishments have been vital to articulating and advancing our County's environmental goals for decades." The nomination highlights Dr. Agazi's dedication to the county's environmental initiatives, often outside of regular hours, and "professional and personal attributes that have made him a model for residents and our communities." He is described as "a knowledgeable, reasoned and persuasive advocate on behalf of County residents' interests" and, in regional efforts through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, "an exemplary County representative, participating actively and persuasively to ensure Fairfax's leadership as a climate-stabilizing 'Cool County.'" The nomination stresses that the success of many of the county's environmental initiatives "has relied heavily upon his ability to forge interagency teams, to impart a shared vision and purpose, and to manage and motivate members to create practical environmental improvement results." His nomination highlight's his promotion of county transparency and public input through the county's website and through public meetings. The nomination concludes by noting that Dr. Agazi "both actively seeks and realizes numerous, sensible opportunities to sustain our shared environment at local and regional scales."