(Photo: Winners of the first annual Green Source DFW Environmental Leadership Awards. From left to right, Grier Raggio, Josephine Keeney, Bonnie Bradshaw, and Jim Schermbeck with Downwinders at Risk)     

Feb. 29, 2012  

Green Source DFW rolled out the “green” carpet Tuesday night when it honored local environmental leaders at its inaugural Environmental Leadership Awards. The event, held Feb. 28 at the new Dallas Eco-op, marked the one-year anniversary of the online environmental publication, a project of the Memnosyne Foundation. 

More than 100 members of the Dallas-Fort Worth green community turned out for the event, which doubled as the grand opening of the Eco-Op, a promising project located in a former grocery store in the Lake Highlands neighborhood of northeast Dallas. Event-goers mingled and listened to live music by the King James Band at the green co-op, now home to compost experts, recyclers and bee keepers.

Phillip Collins, executive director of the Memnosyne Foundation, addressed the group, along with Dallas Eco-op director Heather Rinaldi and Green Source DFW editor Brandolon Barnett.

According to Barnett, the Green Source DFW online contest generated intense activity on the publication’s website and interest in the community. About 1,400 people cast a vote, voting twice on average. In addition, 18,247 unique users viewed the page showcasing the nominees.

“That's a lot of eyes viewing and celebrating the work of local activists and groups helping to make DFW a more sustainable community,” said Barnett.

The awards themselves were stout monuments of crystal, standing  a foot tall with the names of this year's winners and the Memnosyne Foundation logo engraved in gold. Custom designed by Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk, founder of the Memnosyne Foundation which funds Green Source DFW, the awards represented Memnosyne's commitment to the environment and sustainability in North Texas. Says Phillip Collins, director of the Memnosyne Foundation, "Green Source DFW Environmental Leadership Awards program is in line with our vision and mission. It brings people together from diverse economic and environmental areas to create a community of collaborations, opportunities, and understanding. Hopefully, the result of these collaborations in action will improve our environment and the quality of life to benefit all North Texas citizens..." 

 (Photo: Award winner Josephine Keeney holds an award custom designed by Memnosyne Foundation founder Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk)

The winners of the 2012 Environmental Leadership awards were as follows: 

For the Grass Roots Group or Organization Award, Jim Schermbeck accepted the award for Downwinders at Risk, a grassroots organization that advocates for clean air quality in North Texas. The group was formed in 1993 to protest the burning of hazardous waste at the Midlothian cement kilns. Since then, it’s been involved in a variety of clean air fights, including relocating the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Frisco, eliminating regional smog and addressing air pollution generated by fracking practices.

Other finalists in Grass Roots Group were In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Plano International Festival.

The Volunteer Award went to Josephine Keeney, who’s has been active in the Arlington Conservation Council and the North Central Texas Native Plant Society. Keeney is known for her dedicated work at the Molly Hollar Wildscape and the new O. S. Gray Nature Area in Arlington.

Katie Jensen and Grace Darling were also finalists.

The Entrepreneur Award was given to Bonnie Bradshaw of 911 Wildlife LLC, a wildlife control company in Texas founded in 2006. The company founded by wildlife rehabilitators offers humane solutions for homeowners and property managers and prevents native Texas wildlife from being orphaned, injured, relocated or euthanized. The organization has saved more than 21,000 native animals since its founding.

Thomas Kemper, owner of Dolphin Blue, and Heather Rinaldi, owner of theTexas Worm Ranch, were also finalists.

The For-Profit / Business Professional Award went to Grier Raggio, founder of We Consume Too Much. The Dallas attorney created the environmental blog in 2011 to motivate readers to make changes to reverse the progress of climate change and preserve the environment.

Tom Bazzone, owner of Green Living, and Mitch Fine, CFO of Earth NT, were other finalists. Barnett applauded all nominees of the contest, acknowledging them for their inspiration to the community.

“It’s not about who wins,” said Barnett. “It’s about all of us coming together.”

Julie Thibodeaux is a Fort Worth-based writer covering environmental issues, green topics and sustainable living. Previously, she worked as an editor and writer at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Contact her at julie@jthibodeaux.com