Bellingham-based RE Sources to honor environmental heroes Thursday

Five people will be honored as environmental heroes at an event Thursday evening, Sept. 4 at Lairmont Manor.

The 11th annual Environmental Heroes Awards Banquet honorees are Martha Bray, Skagit County land conservationist; Fred Felleman, Salish Sea advocate; Aimee Frazier, naturalist and youth educator; Mitch Friedman, conservationist and advocate for the land transfer to create a new Whatcom County park; and Duane Jager, waste stream innovator.

Heroes were nominated and selected by a panel of community members along with RE Sources for Sustainable Communities staff and board members.

“The accomplishments of our Heroes have made huge impacts in shaping our community’s culture and providing models of sustainability,” RE Sources’ Executive Director Crina Hoyer said in a press release. “Our vision at RE Sources is to see people living satisfying lives in accord with the ecosystem we depend on – generation after generation. We are delighted to highlight the work of our Heroes in advancing that shared vision.”

Here is more on the nominees, from information supplied by RE Sources:

Martha Bray is recognized for her work conserving more than 6,500 acres of threatened lands in Skagit County. As conservation director for Skagit Land Trust, Bray and the land trust team have completed more than 50 land acquisition projects. She has worked to conserve Guemes Mountain, Cypress and Samish Island shoreline, South Fidalgo Bay, Barr Creek Forest on the flanks of Sauk Mountain; and thousands of acres in the Skagit River floodplain between Sedro-Woolley and Concrete so the river can take its natural course.

Fred Felleman is recognized for his research, photography, and advocacy work to conserve and protect the Pacific Northwest’s marine environment. He has made contributions toward the creation of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, the stationing of the Neah Bay response tug, enhancing Washington State’s oil spill prevention and response capabilities, listing the Southern resident killer whale community under the Endangered Species Act, creating the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve and Management Plan, and improving cruise ship discharge requirements.

Aimee Frazier is recognized for her work helping children and youth. In 2004, she founded the Explorers Club, an outdoor education program that provides leadership and life skills’ development for youth ages 7-17. Explorers Club youth identify local needs and meet them, collectively contributing more than 7,000 hours of service to Whatcom County’s ecosystems since 2004. Aimee also helped form the nonprofit Wild Whatcom, which offers guided sensory exploration for young children, serves more than 300 youth in the Explorers Club, brings its environmental education programs to local schools, and leads outings and adventures for adults.

Mitch Friedman is the executive director of Conservation Northwest, which he founded in 1988 after being an activist leader in efforts to save ancient forests. He was a founding board member of The Wildlands Network, Western Lands Alliance, and the Bellingham Bay Foundation. At Conservation Northwest, Mitch has led the effort to infuse landscape scale conservation biology into advocacy strategy. He was a strong advocate for transferring Department of Natural Resources land around Lake Whatcom to Whatcom County.

Duane Jager is recognized for his work in creating local green jobs, reducing over-consumption, and diverting waste. He is the founding executive director of ReUse Works, a nonprofit that supports worker training, job creation and business development opportunities for low-income residents using discarded materials. Appliance Depot, a project of ReUse Works, has provided job training for 300 workers, diverted nearly 30,000 appliances from waste streams (900 tons) for reuse, and recycled 2,000 tons of scrap metal . ReUse Works’ most recent project, Ragfinery, upcycles and repurposes post-consumer textiles.

Tickets for the event at are $50 per person and include open bar, appetizers, dinner and dessert; call 360-733-8307. The banquet is 5 to 8 p.m. at Lairmont Manor, 405 Fieldston Road. Proceeds benefit RE Sources programs and projects.