WASHINGTON, June 19, 2007 -- International Paper and The Conservation Fund today recognized John Tippett, executive director of Friends of the Rappahannock, and Donald Sprangers, a secondary school educator at Washington Academy in Maine, for their outstanding efforts to protect natural resources through leadership in conservation and education at the International Paper Environmental Excellence Awards.
The awards for excellence in partnership and education, each accompanied by an unrestricted $10,000 grant from the International Paper Company Foundation, were presented in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club. U.S. Sen. John Warner (R-VA) delivered the keynote address. International Paper Chairman and CEO John Faraci and The Conservation Fund President and CEO Lawrence A. Selzer presented the awards.
"The individuals recognized here today are leaders among their peers and champions of creative and collaborative conservation," said Sen. Warner. "It is fitting that International Paper and The Conservation Fund highlight the accomplishments that these two award winners have made to promoting partnerships and environmental education."
The Conservation Partnership Award honors an individual who has achieved significant results in the protection of habitat through a cooperative relationship with a business or company. The Environmental Education Award honors 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.
John Tippett, the 2007 IP Conservation Partnership recipient, was recognized for his work to protect Virginia's Rappahannock River. Mr. Tippett's efforts include cooperative conservation programs and the education of stakeholders on key issues and the balance of environmental and economic benefits. His continuing initiatives on the Rappahannock include the removal of the Embrey Dam to restore more than 100 miles of spawning habitat for native fish species, mobilization of governmental agencies and real-estate developers for low-impact development, and the completion of two conservation easements on key river frontage.
"I am extremely excited to receive this prestigious award from International Paper and The Conservation Fund," Mr. Tippett said. "Coming as a complete surprise to me, this award will help our organization to continue to build partnerships to advance river conservation mission in our rapidly growing region. Thanks to the generosity of International Paper, we will be one step closer to my personal goal of ensuring that our grandchildren and their grandchildren will be able to paddle a clean and scenic Rappahannock River."
The 2007 IP Environmental Education recipient, Donald Sprangers, was honored for outstanding curriculum innovation and cooperative education. Mr. Sprangers created the Sustainable LIFE (Lessons in Field Ecology) Curriculum to allow students to develop key science skills through applied research projects they create and implement. He continues to challenge his students in the classroom through community based projects such as the release of endangered Atlantic salmon in Maine, streamside restoration using plants grown in the school's own wetland nursery and a forest inventory growth project.
"I am grateful to International Paper and The Conservation Fund for their generous support and recognition of the accomplishments being made through the design and implementation of the Washington Academy Sustainable LIFE Curriculum," Mr. Sprangers said. "This award is truly a reflection upon the contributions of many community partners and the students who embrace the ideals of good stewardship. I look forward to promoting the Sustainable LIFE Curriculum at the state and national level, and honoring our students with an annual stewardship award/scholarship."
Mr. Faraci said, "Both Mr. Sprangers and Mr. Tippett possess a true passion for creating new approaches to conservation. We are proud to be able to support and recognize their important efforts."
"Thanks to the generous support of the International Paper Company Foundation, we today celebrate the success of two conservation heroes," said Mr. Selzer. "Mr. Sprangers and Mr. Tippett remind us of the power of partnerships and the importance of innovation and personal commitment. The Conservation Fund is pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with International Paper, whose extraordinary commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable forestry should be applauded."
To view short videos with more about Donald Sprangers and John Tippett and their contributions to environmental education and conservation partnerships in their communities, visit www.internationalpaper.com or www.youtube.com/internationalpaperco.