The entries in this year’s Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Awards presented by SRP are a tribute to individuals and organizations that embrace the many facets of sustainability as they look for ways to improve their communities. The finalists reflect a diverse array of projects, including efforts to more effectively steward water resources, improve transit and community health, and engage the public in sustainability efforts. The entries that rose to top made a measurable impact on the built and natural environment.

Winners of the coveted first-place Crescordia and Awards of Distinction will be announced at the 38th annual celebration on Oct. 6 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale. Known as the “Academy Awards” of the environmental community, the gala draws more than 500 community leaders and dignitaries from throughout Arizona.

A total of 13 Crescordia winners and 18 Awards of Distinction will be presented this year. These projects set standards for achieving a balance between the built and natural environment, impacting the state’s environmental, social and economic development.

“This year’s projects set a high threshold for excellence,” said Lori Singleton, president and CEO of Arizona Forward. “Our panel of jurists established a standard that exceeded ‘doing what’s expected.’ They asked whether a project truly broke new ground for its community, as well.”

Nominations embodied a wide spectrum of public, private, educational and nonprofit interests. Finalist projects were submitted by both Maricopa and Pima Counties, as well as the cities of Chandler, Flagstaff, Glendale, Peoria, Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Tolleson and Tucson.

Award categories include: the Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future; Buildings and Structures; Healthy Communities; Energy and Technology Innovation; and Art, Environmental Education and Communication. Two categories – Sustainability Champion and Waste Reduction – also debuted this year.

The highest award in each category is the coveted Crescordia, a Greek term meaning, “To Grow in Harmony.” In addition, judges may also present an Award of Distinction to other entries that deserve recognition. Arizona Forward will bestow its most prestigious honor – the President’s

Award (Best of Show) – to an individual, business, organization, program or event for special achievement in environmental excellence.

John Flicker, president of Prescott College, served as lead judge for this year’s program. Before joining Prescott College in 2014, he was president of the National Audubon Society for 15 years during which time he became a leader in the field of environmental education. Prior to Audubon, he worked for The Nature Conservancy for 21 years in various positions including Great Plains Director, Florida State Director, General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer.

Joining Flicker on the panel were: Hunter Moore, natural resources policy advisor to the governor; Christiana Moss, principal at Studio Ma; Maria Salenger, senior associate at Jones Studio; Galen Drake, senior landscape architect at J2 Engineering; Linda Morales, CEO and principal of the Entitlements Division; Jason Mikkelsen, managing principal at HDR; Liz Shipley, public affairs director at Intel; Pat Dinkel, vice president of environmental and chief sustainability officer at APS; John Trujillo, principal at Circonomy Solutions; Ted Decker, director/curator/co-founder at Phoenix Institute for Contemporary Art; and Anna Maria Maldonado, director of sales and marketing at Care1st Health Plan of Arizona.

In addition to the corporate community, the awards program traditionally draws a wide range of federal, state and local dignitaries. Since its inception in 1969 as Valley Forward and its statewide expansion 44 years later, Arizona Forward has mobilized the state’s business leaders and policymakers to leverage their collective power to influence how we best grow our communities, stimulate our economy and enhance our environment.

The Environmental Excellence Awards gala is open to the public but reservations are required. For information or to reserve seating, call Arizona Forward at (602) 240-2408 or register online at

A complete list of finalists and their respective categories in Arizona Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards program follows.


• RISN Incubator – A partnership between the City of Phoenix and Arizona State University
Submitted by: ASU Rob and Melanie Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative

• Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge
Submitted by: Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department

• Salt and Verde Alliance
Submitted by: The Nature Conservancy


Civic and Historic Preservation

• LEED Gold Tolleson Fire Station + Administration Building
Submitted by: LEA-Architects, LLC

• Wurth House
Submitted by: Kimber Lanning

• South Mountain Park and Preserve Big Ramada
Submitted by: City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department

Commercial & Institutional

• Arizona State University – Biodesign Institute C
Submitted by: McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

• Ocotillo Restaurant
Submitted by: TRUEFORM landscape architecture studio


Landscapes and Preserves

• Northern Arizona Pollinator Habitat Initiative
Submitted by: Green NAU

• Tohono Chul Park Master Plan
Submitted by: John Douglas Architects

• Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel
Submitted by: TRUEFORM landscape architecture studio


Sustainable Communities

• Downtown Chandler Infrastructure Improvements: Commonwealth Avenue and Dakota Street Extension
Submitted by: Achen-Gardner Constructions, LLC

• Spaces of Opportunity
Submitted by: Orcutt Winslow

Multimodal Transportation and Connectivity

• Tempe Bike Share Program
Submitted by: City of Tempe

• Mesa Rio Salado – Stadium Connector Pathway
Submitted by: City of Mesa – Engineering Department

Public Policy/Plans

• South Mountain Park and Preserve Trail Master Plan
Submitted by: City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation

• Orcutt Winslow Office
Submitted by: Orcutt Winslow

• CBRE Phoenix Workplace 360
Submitted by: Gensler

Parks and Trails

• U-Haul – The Conservation Fund (TCF): Upper Granite Creek Aspen Restoration Project
Submitted by: U-Haul International

• Pioneer Park
Submitted by: Dig Studio, Inc.


• Peoria Police Patrol Services Building
Submitted by: Energy Systems Design, Inc.


• Waste Management Phoenix Open
Submitted by: Waste Management of Arizona 

• Global Water Resources – Total Water Management
Submitted by: Global Water Resources

• Barley to Beer: Saving the Verde River
Submitted by: The Nature Conservancy (TNC)


• El Paso Greenway Project
Submitted by: Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department

• “Up in the Air” an Air Pollution Education Program
Submitted by: Maricopa County Air Quality Department

• Glendale Desert Food Forest
Submitted by: City of Glendale Water Services Department

• Master Recycler Program
Submitted by: City of Flagstaff Sustainability Section


• Organizations and Projects
Submitted by: National Forest Foundation

• Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge
Submitted by: Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department


• Bill Auberle
Submitted by: Pinyon Environmental, Audubon Arizona, Northern Arizona University

• U-Haul Sustainability Champion: Alexia Bednarz
Submitted by: U-Haul International

• Greg Stanton, Sustainability Champion
Submitted by: Greg Stanton Supporters

• Tim Thomure, Director, Tucson Water
Submitted by: Tucson Water