Environment Picture

MEC Annual Awards Celebration

Two visionary women were honored during a breeze-swept summer reception along the Detroit River during the Michigan Environmental Council’s awards ceremony in Detroit on June 9.

Detroit RiverFront Conservancy President Faye Alexander Nelson earned the state’s highest environmental honor—the Helen and William Milliken Distinguished Service Award. MEC presents the Milliken Award annually to a person who has made exceptional contributions to protect our state’s residents and natural resources.

Margaret Weber, coordinator of Zero Waste Detroit and a longtime advocate for recycling and social justice, was awarded the Petoskey Prize for Environmental Leadership. It is awarded annually to citizen activists whose defense of Michigan’s natural resources is marked by extraordinary courage, commitment and creativity.

Weber founded the Rosedale Recycles drop-off site 20 years ago in her neighborhood, and her activism has grown. She is coordinator of Zero Waste Detroit, a coalition that helped establish curbside recycling in the city. Zero Waste Detroit is committed to ending the incineration of Detroit waste by adopting cleaner, less expensive options.

Nelson has been a catalyst for a better Detroit in a different venue. Since 2003, she has led the nonprofit Detroit RiverFront Conservancy in acquiring, rehabilitating and energizing three miles of formerly blighted and abandoned land along the banks of the Detroit River. The Detroit RiverWalk is now a spotless ribbon of parks, plazas, pavilions and greenways that is an anchor for the community and visitors. Eventually, it will span 5.5 miles, stretching from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park.

Nelson’s vision and tenacity helped hold together the diverse coalition of people, businesses and agencies that made the RiverWalk partnership a success.

Michigan Environmental Council President Chris Kolb said it was fitting that the awards ceremony take place on the RiverWalk itself.

“Creating vibrant core cities where people want to live, work and play is essential to the health of our great cities,” said Kolb. “Faye’s work has helped establish a healthy, environmentally friendly urban space that can be a catalyst for the city and for sustainable redevelopment. And Margaret has been an inspiring pioneer for recycling and for ending incineration in the city.”

Thank you to our generous annual awards celebration sponsors!

AT&T Michigan
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Chrysler Columbia Asset Management
Consumers Energy
Detroit Free Press
Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
DTE Energy Foundation
Dykema Gossett, PLLC
EQ - The Environmental Quality Company
Four-M Associates - Charlie Mahoney
General Motors Company
Honigman, Miller, Schwartz & Cohn, LLP
Indian Trails, Inc.
Indiana Michigan Power
ITC Holdings Corp.
The Mannik & Smith Group
Michigan AFL-CIO
Michigan Nurses Association
Midwest Strategy Group
The Mosaic Foundation (of R. & P. Heydon)
Muchmore, Harrington, Smalley & Associates, Inc.
NSF International
Olson, Bzdok & Howard, P.C.
Omni Hotel
Public Policy Associates, Inc.
Public Sector Consultants
Quicken Loans
St. Michael Catholic Community
The ServiceMaster Company
UAW - GM Center for Human Resources
U.S. Steel
University of Michigan
Wayne State University

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Betty Jo Kolb
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Mike Penskar and Maureen Martin
Lana and Henry Pollack
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Leonard and Margaret Weber
Tom and Anne Woiwode
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