Thursday, April 2, 2015



                Sue and Ed Wilde began leading volunteer groups to remove privet, ivy and other invasive plants at the State Botanical Garden in 2006. Later they helped start the Memorial Park/Birchmore Trail Weed Warriors, who have cleared invasives from more than 12 acres of park land.
Bruno Giri, a leader in efforts to protect waterways and improve water quality in the Athens area was also a recipient of the award.
 (Sue Wilde, preparing to plant Christmas Ferns at Memorial Park in a site she recently cleared of English Ivy.)

                The Alec Little Environmental Award was established in 1991 to honor John A. (Alec) Little of Athens, who worked closely with many environmental organizations in Georgia before his death that year. It was the first major prize to recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding efforts in environmental activism and education in the Athens area.
                Winners of the award are chosen by an advisory board composed of past winners and representatives of the organizations that created the award shortly after Little died of a heart attack.
                This year's award will be presented April 17 at the annual GreenFest Awards Ceremony at Flinchum's Phoenix.
                Sue and Ed Wilde have lived in Athens since the early 1970s and previously were co-owners of Sparky's Seafood Café and Jackson Street Books.  Graduates of the Master Naturalist course, they began a campaign against invasive plants by learning to identify native plants and clearing their half-acre backyard of non-natives such as ivy, privet and honeysuckle. 
                Sue helped remove invasives at Sandy Creek Nature Center to create a meadow/prairie, and she and Ed began volunteering at the State Botanical Garden, where they led groups and worked on their own to fight ivy and other invasives.  
                In 2009, Sue and friends Linda Chafin and Dorothy O'Niell formed the Weed Warriors, and they were soon joined by Ed and Gary Crider.  The group gathers at Memorial Park every other Saturday from October to March to clear invasive plants and has generated more than 4,000 volunteer hours. In 2010 the Weed Warriors received the Facility/Grounds Volunteer Award from the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association.

 Previous winners of the Alec Little Environmental Award are Nancy Lindbloom, Laurie Fowler, Walter  Cook, Joan Gould, Leo Smith Jr., Al Ike, Pam McClure, Jere Bowden, Charles Carter, Bud and Mary Freeman, Sigrid Sanders, Dick Field, Melanie Ruhlman, Smith Wilson, Dan Hope, Larry Dendy, Beth Gavrilles, Bob Barker, Nancy Stangle, Skipper StipeMass, Laura Hall, Russ Page, Elizabeth Little, Maureen O'Brien, Carl Jordan, Suzanne Lindsay, Dorothy O'Niell, Craig Page, Eric Waggoner, Gary Crider, David Berle and Hugh and Carol Nourse.
                Previous organization winners are Sandy Creek Nature Center, the Broad River Watershed Association, the Community Tree Council, the UGA Environmental Law Association, the Creek Kids, the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society, the Athens Grow Green Coalition, the Upper Oconee Watershed Network, the Athens Land Trust, the Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission, Bike Athens, the Oconee River Land Trust, R.E.M., the Newland Family Foundation, the UGA Go Green Alliance, Hill First Baptist Church and the EcoFocus Film Festival.
                The late University of Georgia ecologist Eugene Odum received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

No comments:

Post a Comment