Prestigious Award Honors Vermonters Making a Difference For State’s Wildlife, Natural Areas
RUTLAND, Vt. – Seeking to honor a leading Vermont environmentalist and the legacy of a legendary wildlife advocate, Green Mountain Power (GMP) is calling for nominations for the 11th annual GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award. Named for famed osprey advocate Meeri Zetterstrom of Milton, the award is given to one person, business, group or non-profit that has made a significant contribution to Vermont’s environment. The award is accompanied by a $2,500 donation to the winner’s environmental cause.
“Meeri continues to inspire Vermonters, and the award continues to honor those who live their lives like Meeri, with a deep love and commitment to Vermont and a passion for protecting our natural resources,” said GMP Vice President Steve Costello, who worked closely with Zetterstrom for many years. “This year’s winner will join a select group of some of Vermont’s most dedicated and effective environmentalists.”
Zetterstrom, a passionate wildlife advocate, was a key leader in a statewide initiative to restore ospreys in Vermont. Despite long odds, indifference by others, and years of effort without success, Zetterstrom was an impassioned advocate who remained focused on her goal.
Zetterstrom lived in a small cabin with a bird’s-eye view of Lake Arrowhead in Milton, and in the 1980s was among the first to notice when a couple of ospreys returned to fish the lake’s waters after their near extinction in Vermont in the 1940s. Her vision, collaboration and leadership prompted utilities, the state and private landowners to work together, and ultimately led to the resurgence of ospreys over the next 25 years.
Thanks in part to Zetterstrom’s leadership, ospreys were removed from the endangered species list in 2005, and the Zetterstrom Award was created shortly before she died in 2010.
“I didn’t know an osprey from a kestrel when I met Meeri, but in no time, I not only learned about the unique features of ospreys, I became fascinated with them,” Costello said. “Thanks to Meeri’s energy and enthusiasm, I went from an occasional birder to an advocate for ospreys practically overnight.”
Nominations for the GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award will be accepted through March 30, and the winner will be announced this spring. For a nomination application and more information, visit www.greenmountainpower.
Past GMP-Zetterstrom Award recipients include Sally Laughlin, a scientist whose work was instrumental in restoring three species of endangered birds in Vermont; Michael Smith, the founder of Rutland’s Pine Hill Park; Margaret Fowle, who led Vermont’s peregrine falcon restoration program; the Lake Champlain Committee, which works to protect and improve Lake Champlain; Kelly Stettner, who founded the Black River Action Team in southern Vermont; Roy Pilcher, founder of the Rutland County Chapter of Audubon; Lake Champlain International, a nonprofit working to protect, restore and revitalize Lake Champlain and its communities; Marty Illick of the Lewis Creek Association; Steve Parren, a biologist for the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife; and 2019 winner Eric Hanson, a biologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, who helped save endangered loons in Vermont.