For Immediate Release
14 September 2009
Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP)
Public Education & Communications Coordinator
Montana Tech Department of Technical Outreach
1300 West Park Street, Butte, MT 59701
(406) 496-4897; (406) 491-0922
WHAT: 2009 EcoDaredevil Awards (www.ecodaredevil.com)
WHEN: Friday, September 18th at 12:00 noon (coincides with World Water Monitoring Day, an international outreach program that in 2008 had over 70,000 people in over 70 countries monitor water quality near their hometowns)
WHERE: in the Copper Lounge of the Student Union Building at Montana Tech of the University of Montana, Butte, MT
Come meet the 2009 EcoDaredevil Award recipients, Kathryn (Katie) Makarowski and Kathleen Kennedy (bios follow).
The first annual EcoDaredevil Award was presented on Earth Day 2008 by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols to Duke University doctoral student Elliott Hazen. An honorary award was also presented to Krysten Knievel, granddaughter of Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel in recognition of Evel's inspiration for the EcoDaredevil Award. Mr. Hazen was one of the co-founders of GreenWave, a student-led sustainability movement at the Duke Marine Lab. He also instituted a Green by Design class at the Marine Lab bringing in all sorts of experts from business, fisheries etc. to come and share visionary ideas about sustainability.
This year we will honor two EcoDaredevils from the legendary Evel Knievel's home state of Montana, with an award presentation on the campus of Montana Tech.
The 2009 award winner was chosen by a selection committee of nationally and regionally recognized environmental scientists/ activists who reviewed all nominations.
The 2009 EcoDaredevil Award will be presented in a ceremony at Montana Tech on Friday, September 18th on World Water Monitoring Day, an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies.
Bios of 2009 EcoDaredevil Awardees:
Kathryn (Katie) Makarowski is an aquatic biologist, sustainability advocate and a recent graduate of the University of Montana’s Masters of Science in Environmental Studies program. Her advisors and peers describe her as innovative, courageous, determined and exceptionally effective in her work to sustain and restore our nation’s rivers, watersheds and fresh water ecosystems. One recommender commented that “Katie used a combination of politeness, persuasion and persistence” to get the job done on behalf of Montana’s environmental future. “Many students would give up when single, let alone multiple requests were ignored. Katie, however, was undaunted. She simply wore ‘em down with her charm and directness. She had the drive to do whatever it took that was ethical and civil!” Another colleague says “there is a greater purpose to everything Katie does…she embodies exactly the qualities this award aims to recognize: not afraid to speak out, but also genuinely amiable, driven, and accomplished – exactly the kind of person needed to spark environmental change.” Still another reviewer says of Katie: “She has no car, eats low on the food chain, reuses/recycles everything, and all with a smile. She joyfully lives life large on a tiny ecological footprint. An exceptional act of courage in our consumptive society.” Her passion for and commitment to our planet have attracted uncountable numbers of others to follow in her path. See Katie in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MbYiJsRVhE
Kathleen Kennedy of Big Sky High School in Missoula, MT is an educator through and through, loved by students and teachers alike. In her Wildlife Biology class she challenges students to think beyond the textbooks and critically consider the environmental costs associated with the status quo. For her efforts raising awareness of important and contentious environmental issues, in particular, screening the award-winning short documentary “The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard (viewed more than 7 million times online), she received many bitter personal attacks, felt abandoned and betrayed by the school system and considered quitting teaching. The debate and associated controversy reached the NY Times and filled many pages in local newspapers. But Kathleen, to the delight of many, has recommitted herself to teaching. As a result of this, she has attended many conferences and workshops on how to teach about environmental issues in an honest and fair way and her work has stimulated important discussions about academic freedoms. In the face of great adversity, Kathleen has stood her ground and emerged as a stronger and better teacher. The kind of teacher that will lead the next generation into a more sustainable future. http://www.storyofstuff.com/
Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols is a scientist, activist, community organizer, author, and dad. He works to inspire a deeper connection with nature, sometimes simply by walking and talking, other times through writing or images. Science and knowledge can also stoke our fires. But he knows that what really moves people is feeling part of and touching something bigger than ourselves. J. is a Research Associate at California Academy of Sciences and founder/co-director of Ocean Revolution, an international network of young ocean advocates, and co-founder of SEE Turtles, a sea turtle conservation tourism project. He earned his MEM in Environmental Policy and Economics from Duke University's Nicholas School and his PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from University of Arizona. Blog: www.wallacejnichols.org
OpEd: We're All EcoDaredevils Now
(Wallace J. Nichols)
On October 17, 1938 Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel was born in Butte, Montana.
Following his sophomore year in high school he got a job in Anaconda's copper mines as a diamond drill operator then as driver of a large earth mover. As the legend goes, Knievel was fired when he did a motorcycle-type wheelie on the earth mover and drove it into Butte's main power line, leaving the city without electricity for several hours.
After stints in rodeo, ski jumping, the army, semi-pro hockey, back-country guiding and insurance sales he settled into a career as a professional Daredevil.
Hundreds of jumps and dozens of spectacular crashes later, on February 28, 1971 he set a new world record by jumping 19 cars with his Harley-Davidson XR-750.
Such is the colorful mix of reality and legend spanning Knievel's life. He took his place in history as rock star, action hero, athlete and folk legend all in one. His death-defying jumps awed millions around the world.
But back in 1961, before he achieved worldwide fame, Knievel hitchhiked with the rack of a bull elk from Montana to our nation’s capital to protest the culling of elk in Yellowstone. The Kennedy administration responded and countless elk were saved.
While no one would argue Knievel's conservationist credentials, his fearlessness, grit and persistence were world class.
In the face of new, daunting challenges, his response was all action, full-speed, non-stop.
Today, we face ever more serious crises—loss of biodiversity, contaminated rivers and lakes, a warming planet, collapsing fisheries, looming food and water shortages, and a growing population that bodes for more of the same. Left to the status quo, scientists forecast a “2050 Scenario” in which our planet is hotter, dirtier, and overcrowded with nine billion people who are left to wage wars for what little remains.
Jumping this eco-chasm will be the greatest challenge we have ever faced. It will require revolutionary changes in society and technology.
To succeed, we must be brave, creative and outspoken. We must undertake the audacious, the impossible and the dangerous. We must risk our financial, social, and physical comfort. We must state the heretical, radical truths about our present situation. We must not be dissuaded, cajoled or convinced that our greenest dreams cannot become reality.
In other words, we must become EcoDaredevils.
Changing light bulbs, inflating tires, eating organic and toting reusable bags are each important gestures. But it’s going to take action far more thrilling to make it over this canyon. We must do something much bolder for the planet—something that invites personal risk.
It's not enough to leave the solutions to our most pressing environmental problems in the hands of the professionals, the experts or the government. That strategy will surely continue to fail.
The lack of adequate response to this deepening crisis means that we are all EcoDaredevils now. Like it or not.
They say that Evel Knievel broke every bone in his body at one time or another. But, he kept on jumping. His steely will kept driving him back to the bike and up the ramp.
This week in Butte, Montana we'll honor two exemplary EcoDaredevils for their work, persistence, and commitment to protecting our planet in the face of personal and professional risk.
Inspired by the spirit of Evel Knievel, motivated by our global ecological crisis and called to action by future generations. We are all EcoDaredevils now. Strap on your helmet, let's ride.