I was honored this week this weekend to receive the John Beal Environmental Stewardship award at the Duwamish Alive event on Earth Day this Saturday for my conservation work as a founder of Middle Green River Coalition and my conservation work in the watershed including the Green River Gorge Greenway.
This award meant more to me because of the man it was named after, John Beal. John embodied the determination and persistence needed to create change. He single handedly restorated a trash-infested, degraded urban stream named Hamm Creek and became tireless advocate for the Duwamish Watershed. I only met him once at an event on the Duwamish but it made a lasting impression on me. That meeting along stories about John working on the river downstream in the urban area gave me hope that, maybe, someday we could restore and save our shared river.
I spoke briefly with his daughter Lana. She handed out the awards to myself, Tom Reese, Brenda Sullivan, and Scott Newcomb. Lana said John died before work on restoring the Duwamish really ramped up. She knows that he would be very happy to know that so many people are getting involved in restoring Seattle's only river, the Green-Duwamish.
Our understanding of the shared connection to this river that runs through our communities from Enumclaw and Black Diamond to Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, and finally to the city of Seattle into Puget Sound is the key to successfully restoring and saving the Green - Duwamish river.