Tag Archives: environmental stewardship

Environmental Excellence Awards

Valley Forward Celebrates 30 Years Of Environmental Excellence Awards

Valley Forward’s focus today is on sustainability. Its mantra is that a community can be great only if it respects its natural and human resources, and adopts practices that will nourish and preserve them.

Thirty years ago, when Valley Forward directors launched the Environmental Excellence Awards (EEA) program, we didn’t talk about sustainability. The word wasn’t in our vocabulary. But our motives inevitably led us to the same place.

We believed that a great city required environmental stewardship and first-rate planning, design and architecture in private developments and public places. So, we set out to raise the competitive bar in those fields by recognizing superior work with prestigious awards.

In 1981, the first year of the awards, six, first-place Crescordias were granted, including Scottsdale’s visionary Indian Bend Wash flood-control project and the historic preservation of Heritage Square in Downtown Phoenix. This year, 21 Crescordias were handed out, led by the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center.

Through the years of EEA, Valley Forward has given out 414 Crescordias and, beginning in 1989, 21 President’s Awards. Additionally, many entries have received Awards of Merit in recognition of their special accomplishments.

The program has drawn thousands of entries submitted by every kind of institution and individuals from every walk of life. EEA recognition has rewarded the efforts of architects, urban designers, land planners and developers; landscape architects, homebuilders, homeowners, educators, artists, scientists, engineers, farmers and many others.

Awards have been made to city, county and state entities; manufacturers, retail corporations, hospitals, school districts, libraries, flood control agencies, art and history organizations, office and retail projects, hotels and resorts, golf courses, utility companies, recyclers, fire stations, zoos, a football team, newspapers and magazines, parks, conservation projects and museums.

As varied as they are, the hundreds of EEA winners have one thing in common: all have made an impact on the community. That is what EEA is all about and it is what will make sustainable development a reality.

Mexican gray wolf photographed by Joel Sartore

Valley Forward Hosts 41st Annual Luncheon Featuring National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore

Valley Forward hosted its 41st Annual Luncheon Dec. 3, and the event was wild — literally. Guests were greeted by a menagerie of interesting wildlife at this year’s event thanks to the Desert Botanical Garden, Liberty Wildlife, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, The Phoenix Zoo and the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium. Several animals were showcased at the environmental education exhibits including a bald eagle, American alligator, greyhound owl, African-crested porcupine and more. These exhibits transformed all the attendees back to their school-age, zoo-visiting days, and truly served as a reminder for the topic that was discussed at the luncheon — the importance of fostering our environment.

The keynote speaker  was Joel Sartore, noted wildlife photographer at National Geographic Magazine, author and passionate environmentalist. Sartore presented a heartfelt speech about the importance of helping preserve our environment and making sure that despite the fervent pace of technology innovations, future generations value and experience the great outdoors.

Sartore has witnessed much of the devastation firsthand during his 20 plus years at National Geographic. He has photographed, among others, environmental tragedies such as the recent Gulf Coast oil spill, endangered species and more. His dedication to the cause is also demonstrated in his latest book, Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, featuring endangered species from all over the world including several from Arizona. Sartore hopes that by photographing wildlife that many people don’t even realize exist, it will draw attention to their cause and maybe help save them. His experience provided the audience with an amazing look into this wild world and what we — everyday, average people — can do to help make a difference.

Congratulations to Valley Forward for once again putting together such an inspiring event. The message of sustainability and environmental stewardship is one that continues to gain momentum. Let’s hope it does so for many years to come.

Read more about Joel Sartore in the November/December issue of AZ Business Magazine here.

www.valleyforward.org
www.joelsartore.com

Joel Sartore Presenting

Showcased at the environmental education exhibit, a bald eagle.American alligator & African-crested porcupine Joel Sartore - Rare: Portraits of America's Endangered Species

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Pinnacle West Named To Three Sustainability Lists

There’s some good green news for Arizona. For the sixth year in a row, Pinnacle West (the parent company of Arizona Public Service Co.) has been separately named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DSJI) North America and as one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies in the World.

The index recognizes sustainable business practices for publicly held companies and the Global 100 is a list of the most sustainable companies in the world, as compiled by global investing magazine Corporate Knights.

In addition, the company was named to the JustMeans’ Global 1000 Sustainable Performance Leaders, ranking 294th out of 1,000 companies worldwide.

These recognitions signify Pinnacle West’s impressive focus on the environment.

“APS and Pinnacle West long ago adopted – and adhere to – a corporate strategy that balances financial strength with an equal focus on the environmental and community impacts of our business decisions,” said Ed Fox, APS Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer. “We are honored that independent and respected organizations, such as these three, continue to recognize our commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable business practices, both of which are key drivers in our long-term strategy and our day-to-day decisions.”

www.pinnaclewest.com
www.aps.com

Teen Sustainability 2010

The Future Of Sustainability Is In The Hands Of Today’s Teens

I’ve lived half my life and never heard the word cotillion. So when I went to my first cotillion event this fall, I didn’t have any preconceived notions about what to expect. And I was blown away by the experience.

The Phoenix Cotillion was formed more than 50 years ago to give young men and women the opportunity to learn philanthropy, to be exposed to the fundamentals of etiquette and to become better acquainted with their peers by attending annual social events. This focus remains today, but membership is open only to young women of high school age throughout the Valley, and nearly 500 of them are currently members.

Another mission of The Phoenix Cotillion is to support a charitable organization at each event. Valley Forward Association, the 40-year-old, business-based environmental public interest group that I’ve managed for nearly two decades, was the charity of choice for the recent Mother-Daughter Fashion Show.

So, I found myself on the rooftop of the Wyndham Phoenix Hotel one Sunday night amid hundreds of gorgeous girls and their moms, all dressed to the nines. They lined up to give me cash and checks to support Valley Forward’s mission of environmental stewardship. They also clearly demonstrated the theme of their event, “Teens Looking Good and Going Green.” A few young men were invited to escort the models during the fashion show and stood out among the mostly female crowd.

In celebrating Valley Forward’s milestone anniversary this year, our leadership is looking ahead at what the next 40 years might look like as we continue to advocate for more livable and sustainable communities.

It occurred to me as I looked at these bright young faces with eyes full of promise — each of them brimming with poise and confidence — that they hold the future in their delicate and capable hands. And for that I’m grateful and somewhat relieved, because these incredible young people already are doing so much to give back to the communities in which they live. They belong to environmental clubs in their schools. They volunteer to help clean up neighborhoods, plant trees and support green projects around the Valley and state.

Valley Forward’s historic agenda has embraced such issues as land use and open-space planning, desert preservation, transportation and air quality, water management, and most recently, energy.

While these issues remain prevalent, our burgeoning Valley cities struggle with ways to grow smarter and in harmony with the pristine, natural desert environment that is unique to Arizona.

As the green movement now sweeping the nation, and indeed the world, touches all business and industry sectors, the quest for a more sustainable future appears within reach. Maybe one day, it won’t be a movement — it will be the lifestyle of choice.

Today’s youth are certainly making it that way. And the next 40 years really belongs to them.

Diane Brossart is president of Valley Forward Association, which brings business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues, and to improve the livability and sustainability of Valley communities, www.valleyforward.org