Asheville GreenWorks announces environmental award winners

Press release from Asheville GreenWorks:

WHAT: Environmental Excellence Awards Night

WHO: Asheville GreenWorks

WHERE: The Asheville Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway St. Asheville, NC 28801

WHEN: Thursday, March 23, 2017 • 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

TICKETS: General Admission $55; Young Adult $25 (25 and under); 
Child $15 (16 and under with ticketed adult, includes meal and childcare) 
($10 discount for Asheville GreenWorks members)

Available online:

ASHEVILLE, N.C.—Asheville GreenWorks is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements in environmental sustainability by individuals, organizations, schools and businesses located in Asheville and throughout Buncombe County. The winners will be honored at the Environmental Excellence Awards Night on Thursday, March 23.

Asheville GreenWorks established the Environmental Excellence Awards in 1992, when the organization was known as Quality Forward.

“From youth who are emerging as environmental leaders in their communities, to those who have been working for decades on environmental stewardship, our 2017 award winners represent some of the best environmental sustainability work happening in our community,” says Executive Director Dawn Chávez. “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to honor and recognize them in a grander way at our awards night, which is a new expansion of these awards that GreenWorks has given out for more than 20 years. “

2017 Environmental Excellence Award Winners:

  • Susan B. Roderick Lifetime Achievement AwardKaren Cragnolin, champion of the French Broad River and former executive director of Riverlink.
  • IndividualWillie Mae Brown, active volunteer and community advocate. She worked for more than 26 years as a volunteer with Quality Forward/Asheville GreenWorks.
  • OrganizationUnitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, whose Green Team has gone above and beyond to make the sanctuary environmentally sustainable with features such as rainwater catchment plantings and energy efficient lighting fixtures.
  • BusinessHighland Brewing Company, for successfully working to achieve efficiencies in beer production and follow sustainability measures in its tasting room and throughout its facility, including wastewater pretreatment and solar power.
  • EducationFrench Broad River Academy, for its commitment to experiential education that includes strong environmental and service learning components.
  • YouthLuke Shealy, North Buncombe High School student who has completed several environmental service projects and is organizing businesses, educational institutions, and community members for a March for Science in Asheville on Earth Day.
  • Golden Shovel Award for an innovative, collaborative project that demonstrates a commitment to environmental sustainability: New Belgium Brewing, City of Asheville, and Equinox Environmental, whose project included the implementation of stream restoration, greenway, stormwater best management practices, native and pollinator plant species, and phytotechnology (using plants to help address brownfield conditions).

The 2017 awards night will be held at the Asheville Masonic Temple in downtown Asheville from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The evening will include beer donated by New Belgium Brewing Company, wine, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and desserts donated by Hey Hey Cupcake and French Broad Chocolates. Guests can enter to win raffle items including Lu La Roe Fashions, an Asheville Tourists Baseball Gift Pack, and a DoubleTree dine and stay package. A children’s area with activities will be available for guests twelve and under with childcare included.

Tickets for the Environmental Excellence Awards Night are $55 for General Admission ($10 discount for Asheville GreenWorks members); $25 for Young Adults (25 and under); and $15 for children 16 and under with a ticketed adult (includes kid-friendly meal and childcare). They can be purchased online at More information is available at

Helen Chickering, reporter and host of All Things Considered for Blue Ridge Public Radio, will emcee the awards ceremony to announce and honor the winners of the 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards. Brownie Newman, chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, will give the keynote address. During the awards night, Asheville GreenWorks will also unveil the much-anticipated master plan for the White Fawn Overlook Park on Beaucatcher Mountain.

Winners of Environmental Excellence Awards are selected based upon evidence of results that positively affect the environment. A panel of individuals representing a cross-section of the community, including Asheville GreenWorks staff and board, City of Asheville Sustainability Office, and business, youth and community leaders, evaluates nominees. Criteria include effectiveness; innovation, creativity and originality; environmental stewardship; leadership; and sustainability elements (how a nominee has improved social, economic and ecological conditions).

Sponsors of the 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards Night include BIMCO (Biltmore Iron and Metal Co.), Pulliam Properties, Equinox Environmental, PeterRocks Stoneworks, Reems Creek Nursery, Jessie Israel and Sons, Biscuit Head, Sow True Seed, and Sally & Barry Mundt.

Established in 1973, Asheville GreenWorks inspires, equips and mobilizes individuals and communities to take care of the places we love to live. With thousands of volunteers, Asheville GreenWorks engages the community in grassroots projects including tree plantings, urban agriculture, environmental cleanups, anti-litter and waste reduction education, creation of green spaces, and preservation of Asheville’s rivers and trees.

About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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