For notable service to the cause of conservation education
1983 Winner: Wendell LaDue
Architect of Akron’s water supply and distribution system, Wendell R. LaDue was a water-supply visionary and dedicated his life to foresighted worldwide education in the conservation and intelligent use of water. Under his direction, land was purchased along the Cuyahoga River for a series of reservoirs to provide additional water supply to Akron, including 6,000 acres in Geauga County, later named the LaDue Reservoir. Much of northern Summit County’s industrial growth was feasible because Akron had water and could share it. He received worldwide acclaim in the fields of water conservation and supply, soil conservation and forestry.
Image credit: This Day in Water History
For more than 70 years, PPG Industries, Inc., produced soda ash for the manufacture of plate glass at a plant in Barberton, Ohio. The liquid and solid wastes were pumped into ponds covering more than 600 acres, creating six “lime lakes,” unable to support vegetation. Since 1985, biosolids have been mixed on site with the lime spoil to lower the soil alkalinity so that it supports long-term vegetation growth and wildlife habitat. By 2001, 300 acres were transformed into a model natural wildlife habitat open to passive recreation, and native plants, grasses, wildflowers, trees, shrubs and birds thrive. The reclamation of the remaining acreage is anticipated to be completed in 2016. PPG is the only corporation to have been honored with a Margaret Douglas Medal to date.
Photo credit: Quasar Energy Group
2011 Winner: Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Conservancy is the nonprofit friends group of the national park and received the medal for depth of programming and fundraising, commitment to innovative environmental education and dedication to preserving the natural world for future generations. The award particularly cited the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center, which draws more than 10,000 children annually to its innovative year-round school experience programs. The center’s 500-acre campus is home to trails, ponds, forests and meadows, two dormitories, a dining hall, labs, an art room and a library. An award-winning interdisciplinary curriculum incorporates current academic content standards in math, social studies, language arts and technology. Some $137,000 in scholarships is provided annually to needy students.
Photo credit: Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park