International Paper and The Conservation Fund Recognize and Reward Environmental and Conservation Excellence
Friday, June 24, 2005
WASHINGTON, June 23 -- Today International Paper and The Conservation Fund recognized Alan Hutchinson, executive director of the Forest Society of Maine, and Mike Town, a Washington state high school science teacher, for their unique appreciation of the environment and their outstanding efforts to protect natural resources through leadership in conservation and education. The 2005 International Paper Environmental Excellence Awards, each accompanied by an unrestricted $10,000 grant from the International Paper Company Foundation, were presented at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Honorable Lynn Scarlett, assistant secretary of policy, management and budget at the U.S. Department of the Interior, delivered the keynote address. Presenting the excellence awards were David Liebetreu, International Paper's vice president of Forest Resources, and Lawrence Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund. "It is an absolute honor to recognize Alan and Mike," said Scarlett. "Their impressive work to create lasting partnerships between business, academic and conservation communities demonstrates the vital importance of maintaining a healthy environment along with a solid and growing economy." The International Paper Conservation Partnership Award, now in its 17th year, is presented annually to an individual who has achieved significant results in the protection of habitat through a cooperative relationship with a business or company. The 2005 IP Conservation Partnership Award winner was Alan Hutchinson. Since 1997, Alan has led the Forest Society of Maine, located in Bangor, Maine, in the development of conservation projects protecting nearly 400,000 acres of the state's forests. His ability to bring diverse interests together in a true sense of partnership to achieve conservation goals is having a lasting impact. Projects of special significance have been the Society's partnership effort on the 20,000-acre Nicatous Lake easement; the campaign to acquire Big Spencer Mountain, six miles of undeveloped shoreline on Moosehead Lake and the West Branch campaign that permanently conserved 329,000 acres of forest. Alan also led the development of an easement oversight and management program for landscape-scale easements to help assure that conservation objectives are accomplished as originally envisioned. His dynamic leadership to promote the use of conservation easements in working forests protects the ecosystems, contributes to Maine's economy and enhances the quality of life in local communities. The International Paper Environmental Education Award is presented annually to an educator who has developed an innovative approach to environmental education that significantly improves student comprehension of environmental issues, fosters an understanding of the link between environmental protection and economic growth, demonstrates leadership and inspires achievement. The 2005 IP Environmental Education Award winner was Mike Town. Through his leadership at Redmond High School in Duvall, Wash., Mike established an interdisciplinary study program for 10th and 11th grade students performing at low levels. The unique program, now known as Pathfinder, provides meaningful learning experiences for students with learning disabilities. Under Mike's leadership, graduation rates of Pathfinder students doubled from previous rates. Mike has also developed an Advanced Placement Environmental Science program giving students the opportunity to complete a full year of curriculum in 90 days. His students have achieved a pass rate on the nation-wide test in the mid-to-high 80 percent range compared to the nation-wide average in the low-to-mid 50 percent range. Mike continues to encourage all his students to understand the need for appropriate balance between environmental protection and a healthy economy to prepare them to make effective contributions to their community's welfare in the future. "Alan and Mike share International Paper's passion for protecting natural resources. It is a privilege to recognize individuals who have made such an exceptional conservation and environmental contribution to their communities that spans across the United States from Maine to Washington," said Liebetreu. "Thanks to the generous support of the International Paper Company Foundation, today we celebrate the successes of two conservation heroes. Alan and Mike remind us of the power of partnerships and the importance of innovation and personal commitment," said Selzer. "The Conservation Fund is especially pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with International Paper, whose extraordinary commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable forestry should be applauded." The Conservation Fund is the nation's foremost environmental non-profit dedicated to protecting America's land and water legacy for current and future generations. Seeking innovative conservation solutions for the 21st century, the Fund works to integrate economic and environmental goals. Since its founding in 1985, the Fund has helped its partners safeguard wildlife habitat, working landscapes, community "greenspace" and historic sites totaling 4 million acres. With 1 percent fundraising costs and 96 percent program allocation, The Conservation Fund is recognized as the nation's top rated environmental non-profit by the American Institute of Philanthropy.