Community sustainability awards recipients announced

Laura Beaton

Staff Writer

Recipients of the sixth annual Community Sustainability Awards were announced last week in Quincy. The Earth Days Committee recognized award recipients for their work in environmental, community, economic and cultural sustainability on Earth Day, April 22, at the West End Theatre.

“Tonight we are celebrating the 45th Earth Day along with more than 1 billion people in 192 countries — the largest secular holiday on the planet,” said emcee and Earth Days Committee chairwoman Darla DeRuiter in her opening remarks.

The student award went to the Student Environmental Association at Feather River College for members’ enthusiastic dedication to improving forest and human health. The group used funds it raised to purchase two bear-proof trash/recycling containers and three water bottle filling stations.

The award, a print depicting Indian Creek by late artist Bob Pfenning, was accepted by “the heart and soul of the organization,” Nicole Bogle, Alan Burfeind and Storm Miller (Denali Hill was absent).

The group award went to Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship for its volunteer-driven efforts to enhance and maintain trail systems in Plumas and Sierra counties. Trails Program Director Tara Stone accepted the award on behalf of the nonprofit group.

The individual award went to Nance Reed, volunteer extraordinaire with a passion for all things gardening, with a shout-out for her willingness to share her knowledge with others. Reed is actively involved with the Digging In program and the Alder Street Garden, among others.

The business award went to West End Theatre owners Earl Thompson and Edie O’Connor. In addition to providing a green and beautiful venue for theatrical, musical, cultural and environmental events, O’Connor and Thompson were recognized by DeRuiter as “bedrocks of our community.”

The event preceded the screening of “Treading Water,” a documentary film by director and filmmaker Jesse Dizard, anthropology professor at CSU Chico. Dizard introduced the film in addition to participating in a panel discussion with other water experts: Michael Jackson, Michelle Beaman and Elizabeth Powell.

Beaman spoke from a permaculture and home cultivator viewpoint and Powell spoke from a small farmer and local community-supported agriculture (CSA) standpoint.

Jackson, an attorney specializing in water issues, spoke about the importance of forest management regarding water use. He said every tree growing in the land is a stem sucking up water. “These are water pumps,” Jackson said.

Jackson also spoke against the proposal to transport water to Southern California via a tunnel built under the Sacramento Delta.

For more information on the film about California’s water issues, go to

The community sustainability awards nomination process occurs every year starting in March. Nominations for outstanding individuals, groups, students and businesses are encouraged and accepted by the Earth Days Committee.

For more information or to become an Earth Days Committee member, contact Darla DeRuiter at or 283-0202, ext. 262.

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