CSU, Chico News

Greenies Awarded to Local Heroes of the Environment

Date: 11-24-2009

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs

As part of the This Way to Sustainability V Conference held the first week in November, “Greenie” Awards were presented to leaders and organizations in Chico and on the California State University, Chico campus who have advanced the cause of sustainability. The annual awards are made to a nonprofit organization, a business, and an individual. Nominations were open to faculty, staff, students and community partners of the conference.

River Partners received the nonprofit award. Over the past 11 years, River Partners has restored more than 6,000 acres of riverbanks and floodplains, providing critical habitat for wildlife and sustainable solutions for California’s rivers. Its habitat restoration work supports efforts to sequester greenhouse gases, improve water and air quality, recover endangered species, improve public safety, and protect open space. River Partners’ mission is to create wildlife habitat for the benefit of people and the environment.

Irv Schiffman, River Partners board chair, accepted the Greenie at the award ceremony on Nov. 6. “River Partners appreciates having our river and floodplain restoration work recognized by the Greenie Award,” said Schiffman. “We hope this will raise awareness that restoring riparian areas benefits public safety as well as conservation.”

The individual award went to Robyn DiFalco, CSU, Chico Associated Students sustainability coordinator. In her role as sustainability coordinator, DiFalco facilitates the application process for student-driven sustainability projects, administers the distribution of funds, and assists the students as they implement their projects. She also assists all AS departments in advancing their sustainability efforts and oversees the AS Recycling Program, the Environmental Action Resource Center and the Sustainability Collaborative internship program.

“Winning this award tells me that my efforts are recognized and esteemed by my colleagues,” said DiFalco. “I really feel very privileged to have the opportunity to do this work that I love, to work with so many enthusiastic young adults who are optimistically working to change the world for the better, and to have the support of my peers and superiors at this university and within the AS.”

This year’s winner in the business category was Smucker’s Natural Foods. Their local division, R.W. Knudsen, was recognized for its deep commitment to sustainability and for its ability to focus on all dimensions of sustainability—the economy, the environment and the larger community.

“The team at Smucker’s has worked hard to divert all of their waste, to use renewable energy, and to create a healthier environment for the workplace and the community,” said Scott G. McNall, executive director of the CSU, Chico Institute for Sustainable Development. “Like past winners in this category (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Lundberg Family Farms), R.W. Knudsen is an icon in the community, an example for other businesses and a case study of how we create a truly sustainable community.”

The Institute for Sustainable Development at CSU, Chico integrates and gives focus to broad University sustainability efforts. It serves as a point of contact for regional sustainability issues and seeks resources to support the University’s sustainability work.