WNC Sierra Club Honors Local Individuals, Institutions, Businesses

November 26th, 2018
By Deborah

Asheville, NC – November 11, 2018: The WNC Sierra Club will present its annual Environmental Recognition Awards on December 6 at its Potluck Holiday Party. The awards are made in recognition of local individuals, institutions and businesses whose actions reflect their commitment to preserving the environment.

The party gets underway at 6:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, Asheville. Please bring a dish to share, as well as your own dishes and silverware. This event is free and open to the public.

This year’s six awards are:

Green Elected Officials: City of Asheville  

Julie Mayfield, Ashville City Councilwoman, and John Noor, Chair, Asheville Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment Commission, are recognized by the Sierra Club for their leadership in getting the City of Asheville to set a goal of having city government operations transition to 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 and supporting the Buncombe County Goal of having the entire county transition to 100% Renewable Energy by 2042. 

Thanks to Noor’s leadership, this goal was approved by the Sustainability Advisory Committee in August. Thanks to Mayfield’s leadership, this goal received a unanimous vote of the Asheville City Council on October 23.


Government Sustainability: NC Army National Guard Field Maintenance Shop #1

The North Carolina Army National Guard Field Maintenance Shop #1 proactively works to ensure environmental protection. In 2017, the shop received a Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Sustainability. It also placed second in the 2018 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards in the Sustainability, Industrial Installation category. The FMS 1 facility also won 1st place for the Environmental Quality category at the National Guard Bureau level for the 2018 competition.

In 2016 and 2017, the shop exceeded expectations in reducing hazardous and universal waste, as well as reducing the use of water. In each of the last two years, it diverted 15 tons of oil, rubber, plastic, metal, paper, cardboard, antifreeze, batteries and wood pallets from landfills. It also replaced its outdated lighting fixtures with LED lights,

Green Business of the Year: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Both LEED ® and Zero Waste certified, Sierra Nevada boasts:         

  • Provision for alternative transportation (bicycle parking and two electric vehicle charging stations)
  • Stormwater management that collects rain water and repurposes it for irrigation and other non-potable water uses (uses 40% less potable water than a similar, traditional building), low-flow toilets and faucets, low-water-use plants and native species
  • An estimated 2,200 photovoltaic solar panels and Capstone Microturbine technology that converts methane biogas captured at its on-site wastewater treatment plant into electricity
  • Recycling and composting programs used during construction enabled the brewery to divert 81% of its waste from the landfill.
  • A healthy, indoor environmental quality. Adhesives, sealants and flooring were selected to reduce chemical concentrations. Lighting and thermal comfort systems were designed for energy efficiency. 99.8% of the facility’s total solid waste is diverted from landfill through reuse, recycling and composting.

Conservation Advocate – Will Harlan

Will Harlan, Editor-in-chief, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, is being honored for his lifetime commitment to conservation. In 2018, he created and went on to direct I Heart Pisgah to celebrate and safeguard the wildest and most biologically important places in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. It now includes more than 100 businesses and organizations, and thousands of individuals, who support more protected areas in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. He also founded and organized Friends of Big Ivy, a grassroots organization that protects the old-growth forests and wild areas of the Craggies and Big Ivy section of Pisgah National Forest.

An award-winning journalist, he has written for National Geographic Adventure and appeared in Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, and on The Oprah Winfrey Show. His book, Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America, was a New York Times bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Discover Award Finalist, winner of the Society of Environmental Journalist’s Rachel Carson Book Award, and one of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2014.

Environmental Organization of the Year: Energy Savers Network


Energy Savers Network (ESN) is committed to helping solve the climate crisis by helping people. ESN mobilizes volunteers to focus on improving the homes of lower income people, offering free upgrades, energy saving education, and referrals to agencies that offer more comprehensive repairs and weatherization. Upgrades include weather stripping, water heater insulation, custom interior storm windows, LED lights, water saving fixtures, duct sealing, and minor repairs that save energy. Starting from the first completed home in December 2016, ESN has assisted more than 200 families, including 168 over the past 12 months. ESN’s long-term goal is to serve as many as 500 homes per year.

Director Brad Rouse is aided by staffer Yulia Shaffer ad volunteer Alice Wyndham.

Naturalist, Educator and Wildlife Rehabilitator of the Year: Carlton Burke

Naturalist and educator Carlton Burke lives in Mills River, NC where he operates an educational service called Carolina Mountain Naturalists. This organization specializes in presenting live animal and nature programs and displays for area schools, summer camps, and many other organizations. Burke is a state- and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator with Carolina Mountain Wildlife Control. He also served as the Curator of Exhibits at the Western North Carolina Nature Center, Asheville, for more than 25 years. and can be heard each Saturday morning co-hosting Nature News, a local, hour-long radio program. He also teaches with the Blue Ridge Naturalist program at the NC Arboretum, and works with Muddy Sneakers.

For more information, contact Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176.

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