Environmental leaders honored nationwide

Farm and Food

Anna Johnson, farm and community manager, 402.687.2100, ext. 1027, annaj@cfra.org; Teresa Hoffman, senior communications associate, 402.687.2100, ext. 1012, teresah@cfra.org

LYONS, NEBRASKA – Individuals from across the nation have been recognized by the second annual Environmental Leader Awards, an independent project administratively supported by the Center for Rural Affairs and made possible by the Walton Family Foundation.

“We are thrilled to continue to be the stewards of this program,” said Anna Johnson, farm and community manager with the Center for Rural Affairs. “Environmental justice is a central focus for the 2023 awards recipients. We are grateful to be able to share this award with them.”

Nominees for the 2023 award were identified within the three geographic areas of focus for the Walton Family Foundation Environment Program: the Mississippi River, the Colorado River, and oceans and sustainable fisheries.

The eight 2023 awards recipients include:

Yvette Arellano, Houston. Arellano leads Fenceline Watch, an organization that works for environmental and racial justice, focused on ending petrochemical pollution and its impact on human health and working to remedy harms caused to vulnerable communities.

Yolanda Badback, White Mesa, Utah. Badback leads White Mesa Concerned Community, a grassroots group that seeks to end and reverse toxic contamination of her community’s water, air, and land from the White Mesa Uranium Mill and nuclear waste storage.

Dr. Karletta Chief, Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Chief (Diné) is a Distinguished Outreach Faculty and professor and extension specialist in environmental science at the University of Arizona. She  works to bring relevant water science to Native American communities in a culturally sensitive manner. As director of the Indigenous Resilience Center, she aims to facilitate efforts of UArizona climate/environment researchers, faculty, staff, and students working with Native Nations to build resilience to climate impacts and environmental challenges.

Other awardees opted not to be named.

Award recipients are offered $25,000 in award funds to honor their past environmental work.