Sunset Announces the Winners of the 2012 Environmental Awards, Honoring the People and Organizations Fighting to Preserve the West’s Most Special Places

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Bust in the Economy Leads to a Semi-Boom for the Conservation World

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Maui’s Scott Fisher, director of conservation for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, is Sunset magazine's Environmental Award “Hero: 40 & Under.”

The recession has had a silver lining when it comes to the environment... competition from real estate developers is down, meaning that land trusts have a better chance of obtaining and protecting land.

Sunset magazine announces the winners of its “2012 Environmental Awards” in the pages of its March issue. These awards celebrate the achievements of the people and organizations that are fighting to keep the West at its most pristine and beautiful. Best of all, nearly all of the award-winning lands can be visited by the public – right now.

“The projects and people we honor this year are outstanding in every way,” said Peter Fish, Sunset editor-at-large. “We received massive amounts of emails nominating candidates and almost all were very good, so it was a difficult choice.”

Sunset editors searched the West for the winners, concentrating on newly protected land. Awards were given in categories such as Best Wild Kingdom, which celebrates one of the nation’s biggest private conservation land purchases, Best Shoreline, and “Capital of Green,” which was awarded to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula for two separate projects that preserve beautiful rivers and forests. The magazine’s editors and an esteemed panel of judges also honor Education Programs and Visitor Centers helping to promote ongoing interaction with and appreciation of the environment.

“The recession has had a silver lining when it comes to the environment,” continued Fish, who served as one of the award program’s judges. “Land development and competition from real estate developers is down, meaning that land trusts have a better chance of obtaining and protecting land.”

And the winners are:

  •     BEST SHORELINE:

Devil’s Head, WA

  •     BEST LOCAL LAND TRUST:

McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ

  •     BEST VISITOR CENTER:

Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale, AZ

  •     BEST WILD KINGDOM:

Montana Legacy Project, MT

  •     BEST EDUCATION PROGRAM:

Wildlands Conservancy, Southern California

  •     BEST LAKE:

Independence Lake, near Truckee, CA

  •     BEST ADDITION TO A NATIONAL PARK:

Rancho Corral de Tierra, San Mateo County, CA

  •     BEST RANCHLAND:

Sommers-Grindstone Conservation Project, Pinedale, WY

  •     BEST CAPITAL OF GREEN:

Washington’s Olympic Peninsula

Two individuals were also honored for their solo efforts in preservation: Audrey Rust of Silicon Valley’s Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) received the “Hero: Lifetime Achievement” award, while Maui’s Scott Fisher, director of conservation for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, was recognized as “Hero: 40 & Under.”

A full profile of the winners can be found on page 72 of the March issue of Sunset magazine and http://www.sunset.com.

The judging panel also included Jon Christensen, executive director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University; Brian Kahn, host of Montana Public Radio’s Home Ground and author of Real Common Sense; and Jenny Price, a research scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, an environmental historian and one of the founders of Los Angeles Urban Rangers.

Editors available for interviews.

About Sunset
Sunset magazine was founded in 1898 and has become the premier guide to life in the West, covering the newest and best ideas in Western home design and garden, food and entertaining, and regional travel in 13 Western states. It is published in five zoned monthly editions—Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Southern California, Southwest and Mountain—showcasing the region’s unique lifestyle and noteworthy destinations and inspiring its nearly five million readers to achieve the dream of living in the West. The magazine is also available on all tablets. Sunset is part of the Lifestyle group of magazines and websites published by Time Inc.

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