Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester Award for Community Environmental Leadership
Launched in 2015, the Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester Award for Community Environmental Leadership is awarded by the Center for EcoTechnology to a local citizen who is working in his or her community to benefit the local environment – with a focus on reducing the harmful impacts humans can have on the environment – and the positive steps people can take at home, work and in their communities that help protect the environment, improve public health and build community.
The award honors Alan and Laura, who co-directed the Center for EcoTechnology for 30 years. They retired from their Co-Director positions in 2010.
Alan and Laura were pioneers in the environmental movement. From 1977 to 2010 they worked tirelessly to create and implement many successful and innovative community-based environmental initiatives and inspire others to do the same. Read more about CET’s history and accomplishments.
The award honors Alan and Laura’s achievements at CET, and brings recognition to individuals who demonstrate community and environmental leadership through their vision, persistence, collaboration, community education and accomplishments.
2019 Award recipient: Wendy Penner
Penner is chair of the Williamstown COOL (CO2 Lowering) Committee and has been actively engaged as a member since 2005. On the Committee, Penner partnered with the Williamstown Elementary School, Mount Greylock Regional High School, and the Center for EcoTechnology to conduct outreach and education to students and their families about energy efficiency and renewable energy. Under her direction, several hundred students have participated in energy days at their schools and toured nearby clean energy facilities such as the Jiminy Peak wind turbine. Working closely with Williams College and other community partners, Wendy has brought numerous educational and outreach events to Williamstown, including a climate change talk by Bill McKibben and several Earth Day energy fairs.
Under Penner’s leadership, the COOL Committee worked closely with Williamstown to achieve designation as a Green Community and to coordinate a very successful Williamstown Solarize MA program in 2013 during which nearly 80 households installed solar PV. Building on that success Penner recently coordinated the submission of an application for Williamstown to conduct Solarize Plus – a multi-pronged solar campaign to dramatically increase the number of clean energy installations in our community.
2018 Award recipient: Berkshire Community College Green Team
Ther Berkshire Community College Green Team coordinates efforts to reduce the College’s carbon footprint, maintain sustainable practices, seek funding to carry out initiatives, and coordinate these efforts with other colleges.
The Green Team Committee leads efforts to help the college become more environmentally friendly, sustainable, and attractive for residents, visitors, and future generations. BCC has installed solar panels, recycles and composts, and once a year sponsors a Green Team Forum for students and faculty. Read more about the Berkshire Community College Green Team here.
2017 Award recipient: Peter Hofman
Peter Hofman chairs of the Town of Lee Greener Gateways Committee, and has been an active member since he and his wife, Phyllis, moved to the Berkshires in late 2013.
The Lee Greener Gateways Committee – until December 2016 called the Lee Recycling Committee – leads efforts to help the town to become more environmentally-friendly, sustainable, and attractive for residents, visitors, and future generations.
Last year the Committee helped draft and pass new bylaws, which went into effect on May 12th, regulating the use of plastic shopping bags and polystyrene containers in Lee. The Committee and other Town partners developed resources and activities to inform the community about the bylaws and their implications and to help residents and businesses make any needed changes.
In recent years the Committee has expanded its zero-waste efforts at several large events, including Lee’s annual Founders Weekend, where about two-thirds of all waste is recycled or composted. At the Taste of Lee event, committee members and more than 20 volunteers staffed five recycling-composting-trash stations.
In 2016 the Committee launched an annual town-wide cleanup, started a table-to-farm initiative to keep wasted food from being thrown away, and supported recycling and composting activities at local and regional events. In recognition of this work, the Lee Chamber of Commerce named the Committee its “Volunteer of the Year.”
2016 Award recipient: Lauren Stevens
Lauren Stevens has worked for more than three decades to protect and raise awareness about our local environment.
Lauren began his career as an educator, teaching English and environmental studies at Williams College. He founded the Hoosic River Watershed Association in 1986 and has served on its board of directors since its inception, as well as many of those years as president or executive director. Championing protection and access to trails and rivers, Lauren has served on several boards of directors and advised organizations and initiatives, from the Ashuwillticook Bike Path and Mohican-Mohawk Trail initiative to the Mount Greylock State Reservation Advisory Council and Berkshire Renewable Energy Collaborative.
He has also contributed significantly to raising awareness about the local environment as a writer and journalist. He is the author of several books and a regular columnist for the Berkshire Eagle, and in 1981 founded the Berkshire Advocate,. His Hikes and Walks in the Berkshire Hills and The Berkshire Book have been reprinted several times. He also co-authored Most Excellent Majesty: A History of Mount Greylock with Deborah Burns and Old Barns in the New World: Reconstructing History with Richard Babcock.
2015 Award recipient: Juliette Hass
A deep commitment to protecting her local environment and community has earned Juliette Haas of Egremont the Center for EcoTechnology’s inaugural Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester Award for Community Environmental Leadership.
Juliette, who serves as Director of the Egremont Board of Health and Egremont Sustainability Coordinator, received the award at a meeting of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce at the Pittsfield Country Club on March 11, 2015.
Juliette has led a number of energy efficiency, renewable energy and waste reduction initiatives in Egremont. She secured grant funding to improve the town’s Highway Department, including installing a new energy efficient heating system and a solar array. Since going solar, the array has generated over 50,000 kWh of clean, renewable energy. In 2009, while chairing the Egremont Green Committee, she launched “Egremont Recycles”, a once-a-year Earth Day event where volunteers pick up roadside trash and then recycle it. She also helped the town establish a part-time Sustainability Coordinator position, whose job responsibilities would be to investigate further energy efficiency, renewable energy and recycling/waste reduction programs. She recently served as Solar Coach for the state sponsored “Solarize Mass” project, helping forty Egremont households install solar arrays.
Juliette served as administrator to the Egremont Wastewater Management Committee from 2002-2005, where she was instrumental in presenting a $4 million sewer project to the town, which secured close to $1 million in federal grant funding. She served for five years on the Alford/Egremont Cultural Council and was chairman for three.