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Past Recipients

Environmental Excellence Awards

The Environmental Excellence Award is the Department of Ecology's highest award for recognizing environmental excellence in the state of Washington.

The department issues the award to individuals, businesses, and organizations that have shown leadership, innovation, or extraordinary service in protecting, improving, or cleaning up the environment.

2015 Awards

When Who Region Why
April Randy Whalen, founder and director, Bear Creek Headwaters, and Mark Ericks, Deputy County Executive, Snohomish County Northwest

For leadership in protecting and preserving Hooven Bog, a significant habitat and water quality resource in the Bear Creek headwaters, ultimately placing the area into public ownership.

Ecology’s ECOconnect blog has photos and more information about Hooven Bog.

2014 Awards

When Who Region Why
December McGregor Company
An independent fertilizer, agri-chemical and farm equipment dealer that serves the Pacific Northwest
Eastern The company successfully turned the dilapidated, neglected property in Creston that was a hazard for human health and the environment into a clean, compliant agri-chemical facility.

2013 Awards

When Who Region Why
December Marv McCord
Owner of McCord's Vancouver Toyota
Southwest For his leadership and use of “low-impact development” and other environmentally savvy options when expanding the dealership’s facility by 50,000 square feet.
November Russ Lewis
A Pacific County resident
Southwest For his exemplary efforts to keep Washington beaches clean and his tremendous support of Washington State Marine Debris Task Force efforts.
May Citizen volunteers
A group of citizens and several area businesses led by Mike Robinson, Al Potter and Russ Burtner
Eastern For cleaning up more than 20 tons of garbage at some 40 illegal dumpsites in the hills fringing Kennewick along Highway 397.

The volunteers were led by mountain bikers who decided to do something about the garbage people were illegally dumping in the hills where they had been bicycling for many years.
February Eric Erler
Capitol Land Trust Executive Director
Southwest For going above and beyond his normal duties in achieving land conservation and promoting important conservation practices that are important for the South Sound and Southwest Washington’s environment and economy.

Highlights of recent accomplishments Erler has spearheaded include an effort to conserve two properties including the 85-acre Oakland Bay County Park and the 133-acre Twin Rivers Ranch Preserve, with a combined total of 6,000 feet of marine shoreline and 6,000 feet of stream channel. A third effort is underway to conserve 75 acres of the Johns Creek estuary with 27 acres of tidal saltwater marsh, another 4,000 feet of marine shoreline and 2,000 feet of stream channel.

2012 Awards

When Who Region Why
November Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) Eastern For supporting and participating over the years in the efforts of the Agricultural Burning and Research Task Force, which has improved the lives of Eastern Washington citizens by eliminating smoky days while maintaining fire as an important tool for farming
November Ritzville Warehouse Company Eastern For going through big growth and changes over the years while maintaining a perfect record of compliance with air quality laws. The company also uses several innovative methods to control fugitive dust emissions from its large, outdoor storage piles.
August Sound Transit - providing public transportation for King, Pierce and Snohomish counties Northwest Through a land purchase and technical assistance, Sound Transit helped a multi-agency estuary restoration project outside of Marysville overcome major hurdles and proceed toward construction.
June Ken Rausch - Westport Marina manager. Southwest Honored for his extra diligence in working with boat owners and operators, Ecology’s Spill Response Team, contractors, and others to contain and clean up fuel spills when they have occurred during the last two decades. Also for going above and beyond normal duties to keep boats afloat — reducing potential for sinking of boats and the resulting damage to the environment.
March Barracuda Coffee - Richland coffee shop Eastern Honored for employing sustainable business practices, recycling waste products and embracing environmental stewardship.
January Julian Powers - Spokane resident Eastern Honored for two decades of educating the public about climate change. He promoting the use of bicycles for transportation, as well as water conservation and sound energy policy.

2011 Awards

When Who Region Why
January Wes Yasny - Woodinville resident Northwest Yasny spearheaded a complex project to restore a section of Little Bear Creek in northwestern Woodinville. The project developed into an educational and community service venture for students of the non-profit Attic Learning Community.


The ideal candidate is an individual, business or organization that has done something out of the ordinary, above and beyond normal expectations, on behalf of Washington’s environment. This is intended to encourage a broad range of potential nominees and award recipients.

Award schedule:

Environmental Excellence Awards are issued throughout the year as deserving candidates are identified, and as public events are scheduled where awards can be issued.

Selection Process:

Department of Ecology employees submit nominations to the appropriate agency regional director, based on the candidate's address. Nominations for statewide work can be submitted to any regional director, for coordination among all regional directors.

Each regional director will involve his/her regional management team in reviewing that region's nominations to ensure that nominees are in compliance with all of Ecology’s environmental programs. Recommendations are then made by the management team for the regional director's decision. To help maintain high standards in issuing these awards, regional directors will coordinate with one another on a regular basis to ensure consistency.


Typically, Environmental Excellence Awards will be presented at public events that provide an opportunity for others to learn about the accomplishment and contribute to the accolades – usually to be coordinated by a public information officer from the Communication & Education Office. The awards also will be announced in the recipient's local community via a news release from the Department of Ecology.