Party for the Planet sold out before I could get tickets. Who won the Green Scene Awards this year?
While I’m sad to hear that you (and so many others) missed out on the 34th annual Party for the Planet, I was thrilled to see an outpouring of community support for the environment. The planet needs us all! Party for the Planet, which serves as a fundraiser for the High Country Conservation Center, also included the presentation of the Green Scene Awards.
Those familiar know that the awards honor individuals and businesses who strive to create a greener community. Awardees are selected in three categories each year, and I’m excited to celebrate Summit County’s real-world environmental champions.
Tim McClure Lifetime Achievement Award: Jen Cawley
Named after High Country Conservation Center’s founder Tim McClure, this award honors a dynamic leader who has contributed to the greater sustainability of our community. Jen Cawley fits the bill perfectly. Whether in her role as director of operations for the Hearthstone Restaurant or as a volunteer for numerous community organizations, Jen is a passionate and inspiring community recycler and composter. A pioneer in restaurant composting — she established composting programs at several local restaurants more than a decade ago — her work serves as a model for businesses across the community and region.
Friends are quick to share that Jen inspires environmental action through kindness and dedication. After all, she’s been known to return from lengthy out-of-state road trips with a truckload of cans to ensure they are recycled properly. When asked, Jen will share how much she loves the so-called little projects, such as recycling wine corks and crayons at the Hearthstone Restaurant. Yet, all those so-called little projects have added up to a big impact in Summit County and beyond.
Sustainable Business Champion Award: CAFE Food Rescue
Presented to a local business that implements innovative environmental programs, this year’s award was given to CAFE Food Rescue. The relatively new organization works with licensed food businesses to collect surplus food and deliver it to community organizations that serve people in need. This includes organizations and events such as community dinners, food pantries, Smart Bellies and Meals on Wheels. In 2022, the CAFE Food Rescue team collected and distributed 32,525 pounds of food, equivalent to a whopping 27,000 meals for Summit County residents. By preventing all that food from entering our local landfill, CAFE Food Rescue saved 73 metric tons of carbon emissions, which is equal to removing 16 passenger cars from the road for a year.
Outstanding Community Advocate Award: Chiara Zavagno
As both a water operator for the town of Frisco and a water conservation leader in the town, Chiara Zavagno’s work inspires others to protect the planet. After attending a water efficiency training in April 2022, she’s applying her new knowledge to town landscaping projects. And, she helped to organize landscaper training at the Frisco Adventure Park, including a hands-on irrigation efficiency lesson. When she’s not on the job, Chiara encourages her friends and neighbors — including her entire homeowner’s association — to practice efficient outdoor water use, too.
The 2023 Green Scene Awards winners are proof that everyone, no matter their role at work or at home, can inspire others and create positive environmental change. As you reflect on your own scope of influence, I ask you to consider how you will inspire others to protect this amazing place we call home.