Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award
The City of Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission and Alexandria Renew Enterprises (formerly the Alexandria Sanitation Authority) will announce the winner of the Sixth Annual Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award at this year’s Alexandria Earth Day event on Saturday, April 26 at Ben Brenman Park, 4800 Brenman Park Dr. The award honors and recognizes those who demonstrate a commitment to protecting the natural environment and keeping the City “green.” A tree will be planted in honor of the recipient of this year’s Award.
2014 Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award Winner
The UpCycle Creative Reuse Center is the winner of this year’s Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award. The award will be presented to UpCycle co-founders Kelley Organek and Susan Miranda during Alexandria Earth Day 2014 on Saturday, April 26, at Ben Brenman Park; a tree will also be planted to celebrate the occasion.
The Upcycle Creative Reuse Center, located in the Del Ray neighborhood, collects and redistributes reusable material for art and learning purposes. The Center’s large collection of material is used in creative and artistic programs for all ages and is also available to the public at reduced prices. The center provides playgroups, arts and crafts workshops, summer camps, school enrichment activities, studio space, and professional development programs for teachers and parents.
“The UpCycle Creative Reuse Center blends creativity and fun with sustainability,” said Alexandria Renew Enterprises CEO Karen Pallansch. “Instead of sending material and everyday objects to the dumpster, the center brings together kids of all ages to recycle and reuse the material to build, create and learn. The late Ms. Pickering would have loved the sense of community and environmental stewardship the Center brings to Alexandria, and for that reason we are thrilled to present the UpCycle Creative Reuse Center with the Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award for 2014.”
What is it?
The Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award is named in honor of Frances Ellen Pickering, a former Board member of the Alexandria Sanitation Authority, who was dedicated to preservation and conservation in the City throughout her life. She helped create the Mount Vernon Trail between Alexandria and Washington. Pickering was committed to preserving and enhancing the City’s waterfront and urged the adoption of the City’s Open Space Plan lobbying to preserve Founder’s Park and protect it from high-rise development. She also implemented the planting of 1,000 citizen-donated cherry trees during her tenure as Chair of the Alexandria Beautification Commission.
- Qualifications: Residents, groups, clubs, organizations or corporations may be nominated. To be eligible, nominees must live within the City of Alexandria and corporations, organizations and other groups must operate within the City of Alexandria. The actions of the nominees must have a direct impact on protecting the natural environment and natural resources within the City of Alexandria.
- Selection: Selection will be made by a special committee composed of representatives from Alexandria Renew Enterprises, the Environmental Policy Commission, and members of Mrs. Pickering’s family.
- Applicable Topics: Subject matter applicable to the award criteria include natural resource preservation, energy conservation, education outreach regarding environmental sustainability, water preservation, water conservation, waste reduction and/or materials reuse/recycling, and promotion of clean air.
Those making nominations may also refer to the Alexandria’s Eco-City Charter, adopted in 2008, and the Environmental Action Plan 2030, adopted in in 2009. Both documents define the guiding principles of environmental sustainability.
About Ellen Pickering
- The award is named in honor of Frances Ellen Pickering's lifelong dedication to preservation and conservation in the City of Alexandria. Mrs. Pickering was a long-time City activist who first gained recognition for her lobbying efforts more than 31 years ago that ultimately helped to create the Mount Vernon Trail between Alexandria and Washington, DC.
- An active preservationist and conservationist, she was deeply committed to preserving and enhancing the City's waterfront. She urged the adoption of the City's Open Space Plan, lobbied to preserve Founder's Park and protect it from high-rise development, and implemented the planting of 1,000 citizen-donated cherry trees during her tenure as chair of the Alexandria Beautification Commission.
- Mrs. Pickering was elected to City Council as an independent, serving for one term between 1976 and 1979. She also served on numerous City boards and commissions, including the Alexandria Beautification Commission, the Alexandria Sanitation Authority, the Ad Hoc Committee on Potomac Yard, the Potomac Greens Task Force, and the Open Space Steering Committee. She also chaired the Northern Virginia Conservation Council for many years. She won two Salute to Women Awards from the City's Commission on Women; she was also an active member of the League of Women Voters and the Alexandria chapter of the American Association of University Women.
Previous Award Winners