The Tod J. LeFevre Sustainability Champion award celebrates individuals, businesses and students working on innovative, creative solutions to the environmental, economic and social issues facing the Gorge.
This award is named after Tod J. LeFevre, a longtime resident of Hood River and a true champion of sustainability. Tod passed away on March 7, 2011 when his long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis ended before donor lungs could be found. Among many other things, Tod was a respected civil engineer, a mountaineer, skier, adventurer, innovator and teacher. He launched a solar engineering and installation firm, Common Energy, which is now owned by his wife Marti and Scott Sorensen. Tod and Marti have two children, Cassell and Sutton Bell. We honor Tod and his humble determination to make our community and this world a better place.
2016 Nominees (and what their nominator had to say about them!):
Emily Goodwin: Emily has worked tirelessly to establish an amazing outdoor experiential education program that teaches youth about ecology, agriculture, watershed science and more. She also works to make her programs affordable and raises funds to provide scholarships to low income students too.
Kathy McGregor: For many years, Kathy has organized the community garden program (on One Community Health’s Hood River campus) through the Master Gardener Program as a volunteer. The community garden enables many low-income families to have a sustainable, fresh, organic and local source of produce. Kathy has put many volunteer hours into making this community garden thrive.
Heather Staten: Over the last few years, Heather has demonstrated exceptional leadership and dedication to furthering the work of Hood River Valley Residents Committee. From the Punch Bowl Falls county park to the Cooper Spur-National Forest Land Swap to the Hood River TGM grant to the Waterfront Refinement Plan (the list goes on and on), Heather is tireless in her efforts to protect farm and forestland and improve livability for the citizens of Hood River County.
Kristen Stallman: As National Scenic Area Coordinator at the Oregon Department of Transportation, she has worked tirelessly to improve the safety and accessibility of the Historic Columbia River Highway. Much work has been accomplished and 63 of the original 73 miles of the Historic Highway are now open to travel either by motor vehicle (Historic Highway or connecting county roads) or by foot and bicycle (State Trail). Today with 10 miles left, Kristen is leading efforts to complete what will be a world-class pedestrian and cycling route through the Gorge.
Becky Brun: Becky is a tireless community leader who donates incredible time, energy and passion to this community. As the founder of Gorge Owned, she continues to promote locally owned businesses, environmental sustainability and community connectedness through her work as the Board President. In her new role as Hood River City Councilwoman, she goes above and beyond to promote thoughtful policy implementation to make our amazing town even better.
Tad Johnston: Tad does so many things to make the community a better place without ever seeking recognition for it. He gave an easement across his property for the Indian Creek Trail. People enjoy that trail unaware that his generosity makes their walk possible. For work parties along Indian Creek, Tad shows up with equipment and sometimes his staff; he outworks everyone. A cleanup on Indian creek? Tad rented a trailer at his expense and hauled the trash away, cut down trees burned in the fire. He was a Hood River volunteer firefighter for 10 years. He takes care of the area around Columbia Center for the Arts—shoveling snow, sweeping gravel. Helped set up Lila May’s party. He donates time and supplies to the Hukari Animal Shelter. He and wife Jacque donate generously as well to many causes.
Emily Klaire Kao: Emily grew up in the Hood River and fell passionately in love with the Gorge environment. She graduated with honors from HRVHS and went on to the selective liberal arts college of Carleton College and was invited to the University of Wisconsin, Madison for her graduate degree in Landscape Architecture with her thesis on the saving of wild rivers. She is currently dedicated to doing her thesis on the White Salmon River and the recovery post dam removal.
Stuart Johnston: Stuart Johnston is a local bird watcher who has been volunteering for citizen science bird counts and starting his own counts for over a decade. He took data on birds of Bingen Pond and led bird walks there for years. He does raptor counts every year in Klickitat County, participates in Klickitat County Migration Counts, Hood River, Lyle, and Klickitat Christmas Bird Counts, volunteers to lead bird walks for the Gorge Bird Nerds, and is always happy to share his expertise with local bird watchers as a volunteer.
Hank Patton: Hank has quietly figured out a way to get private donors to help preserve about 1,000 acres in Underwood. He works tirelessly to restore old timber, mining and neglected land. Now he is trying to fund a place-based school so inner city students can experience the outdoors. He is a hard working, humble steward of the Gorge. Visit his website: http://worldsteward.com/about-history-ws.html.
Alexandra “Sasha” Faizulaeva-Smith: Sasha is an Instructional Assistant at Westside School and so much more! She is a native of Tajikistan and got a scholarship in her early college years to attend college in the United States. Because of her background, she has a unique perspective on the waste produced every day at the school and in the United States. She volunteers her time every day and hand washes plastic food containers and milk cartons to recycle. Our local transit center does not take these items but she has a connection with someone who takes them to Portland for recycling. This is just the tip of the iceberg on the life she leads every day. She loves the earth as much as she loves her life. She appreciates every clean breath she takes every moment and is an inspiration to be around.
The Renewal Workshop: Nicole is starting a company that endeavors to close the waste loop for outdoor apparel. She has worked for years in the apparel industry trying to make it more sustainable and now she is launching a business that will repair outdoor apparel and resell it. This not only closes the waste gap but also provides quality outdoor apparel to people with more limited means.
Gorge Grown Food Network: It’s been so impressive to see all that this small nonprofit continues to achieve in the Gorge community. The Veggie Rx program has a huge impact on diet and nutrition and local food consumption in our region. People are eating more locally produced produce, feeling better and being more productive citizens as a result. All of Gorge Grown’s programs have a huge impact on our regional economy and raise awareness about the benefits of eating locally grown produce – for our health, our economy and our environment.
Common Energy, Green Home Solar and Hire Electric (Contractors for GO Solar): In the Gorge, it’s rare to see direct competitors coming together to collaborate on a project. It’s impressive to see that these three companies came together under one umbrella to deliver the GO! Solar program, and the overall success has been huge! Together, they are the reason why solar panels are appearing all over the Gorge. It was only possible because they were able to be open to working together and offering the same price for their services. We are lucky to have them all in our community.
The Tofurky Company: Tofurky is committed to promoting the health of our environment, our community and our animal friends. They do this by tracking and reducing the environmental impact of their business operations; designing benefit programs and policies to support employee wellness; donating to national, regional and local charitable organizations; and promoting animal welfare initiatives at home and around the world. Last year, Tofurky also became a Certified B Corp, and is now veriﬁed by a third party, nonproﬁt organization to meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
Honey by the People: They do a great job providing education and actively contributing to sustainability of bee populations and pollinators in the Gorge.
Columbia Gorge Organic: They have been organic farming in the gorge for over 20 years. They have vertically integrated their supply chain to go from their organic orchard to their juice and then distribute themselves creating a smaller carbon footprint.
Cascade Acupuncture Center: Carola is very involved in community and posts a lot of green/environmental friendly posts on FB that reaches a wide local audience. She uses a cleaning company that is green friendly in her place of business. In addition, she is an advocate of locally run businesses, which is very helpful to our community.
Rockford Grange: Great community supporting agriculture.
Local Water Alliance: Aurora has been organizing the community of Hood River County to stop Nestle from opening a water bottling operation in Cascade Locks. She has been part of a small band of committed voices in Cascade Locks that has grown into the Local Water Alliance and the 14-55 local water protection measure we will vote on in May. Aurora has been a tireless organizer since the summer of 2015 when she spearheaded the official group Local Water Alliance to asses the ballot measure, raise funds in support of the measure, speak publicly educating the community about the measure and going door to door to get the vote out.
Springhouse Cellars Winery: Have become an incredible supporter of hosting enviro & community events!
Gorge Rebuild It Center: The Gorge Rebuild It Center has been intercepting building and construction salvage since 2004, in Hood River. Patrick Morrison has skillfully managed the Gorge Rebuild It Center Store, employees, and volunteers-some with community and environmental passions, but little knowledge of the products being donated-since the beginning. Patrick currently works the Gorge Rebuild It Store alone. Patrick spends his days loading and unloading materials, hand washing and inspecting doors, windows, trash cans–whatever treasures arrive-with a smile and a nod.
Claire Davies: For two years, Claire has spearheaded a Soles for Souls shoe drive. She has collected more than 800 pairs of used shoes to donate. The shoes are repaired by people in more than 127 impoverished countries and in all 50 states to then be sold in their communities. This micro-enterprise model provides entrepreneurs the ability to start small businesses by providing a steady supply of high-quality, low-cost product; a powerful and sustainable way for people to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Through this project Claire has helped keep shoes out of landfills and instead provide opportunity to thousands of entrepreneurs.
Charley Boonstra: Charley lives her passion in loving the Earth, and wanting to care for it. She has rallied a group at the High School around this cause and says ‘yes’ to all opportunities.
Allison Doss, Clara Parkinson, Abby Tomlinson, Sierra Valentine: Fifth graders Allison, Abby, Clara, and Sierra have been working to create a school garden. After reading about how gardens can help save the planet, they drew up a design for a “stairstep garden structure”, created a powerpoint presentation, and met with the principal and custodian to get approval. They attended a PTO meeting to present their plan and solicited a donation of materials from a local business. A wood shop student at HRVHS built the structure for his ELA project. Next, they organized a school bake sale to raise money for a greenhouse-type covering—a part of the project that is still in progress. The girls organized the class into committees to share the garden work. A classroom worm bin—maintained by the students– provides vermicompost for the plants. Allison, Clara, Abby, and Sierra have planted the seeds–literally and figuratively–to make our school community and world a better place.
May Street Robo Dragons: A group of students who started handing out free reusable grocery bags at Rosauers. The program, which the Rockin’ Robo-Dragons have dubbed “Earth Bags,” is a simple one aimed at reducing plastic sacks coming out of the grocery store. If you have an extra reusable bag, or if you want to return the one you previously took, you place it back in the barrel.
VOTE HERE FOR THE 2016 WINNERS!
Business : Solstice Wood Fire Cafe and Bar
Individuals: Jurgen and Susan Hess, Hess Photography and Envirogorge
Student: Charley Boonstra, HRVHS Climate Action Club
Business: Humble Roots Nursery, Kristin Currin & Andrew Merrit
Individual: David Skakel, Tri-County Hazardous Waste and Recycling Program
Students: Daeuthen Dahlquist and Erik Siekkinen
Business – Cascade Acupuncture Center
Individual – Michael Becker, Hood River Middle School
Student – Paul Cook, Columbia Gorge Community College
Business – Dirt Hugger
Individual – Linda Short
Business – Springhouse Cellar
Individual – Tod LeFevre