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NCAP Presents 2014 Award Winners

by Ashley Chesser — last modified Aug 27, 2014 03:18 PM

NCAP proudly presents its 2014 Rachel Carson Award and Karl Arne Lifetime Achievement Award Winners.

Kevin Finney is this year’s recipient of the Karl Arne Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award honors individuals who have led a career of inspiring and innovative efforts to reduce pesticide use in their communities, following the footsteps of longtime NCAP friend, supporter and board member.

Kevin Finney is the recently retired Park Operations Manager for the City of Eugene. He was instrumental in the creation of the city’s Pesticide-Free Parks Program, the development of Eugene’s Integrated Pest Management Policy and Operations Manual and he recently headed the staff team that developed Eugene’s resolution banning the use of neonicotinoids on city property.

Kevin’s motivation includes his concerns about the accumulation of these chemicals in our environment and he was reminded in his career path that most of the pesticides applied by his grandfather over 50 years ago are still floating around in our water, our soil, our food and in our bodies.

Kevin was an advocate from the inside. As a public employee, he saw his role as a steward and manager for the public – helping to manage their land. Advocacy groups – from dog park users, beekeepers and soccer families to bird watchers, tree advocates and trail users, represented particular interests or values and he saw his role to be recognizing and respecting their values and goals and collaborating with them to develop and manage programs that reflected the broad range of values.

Kevin understood that public agency staff, such as him, has access to resources and decision-making processes that advocacy groups may not have. Kevin’s successful community partnership with NCAP to launch the Pesticide-Free Park program is a perfect example of such collaboration. The two partners brought their resources and strengths to the effort and in the years following the launch of the program, the City-NCAP partnership extended to the development of white papers outlining best management practices for managing pests in parks without the use of pesticides.

This award is named after our dear friend and board member, Karl Arne, who passed away on May 26, 2012.  All of us at NCAP remember Karl as an amazing light in national efforts to move beyond pesticides and to protect people and our planet.  

Avery McRae

Avery McRae, Eugene 4th grader, is this year’s recipient of the Rachel Carson Award.  This award honors individuals who are making an on the ground difference in their community and inspiring others to do the same. 

9-year old Avery McRae raised over $300 to help protect salmon — she did this by having a party. When asked about her inspiration and why she is so passionate about helping to protect wild salmon, she talked about her personal experience walking along Whitaker Creek near Walton, Oregon.

She and her parents were hoping to see spawning salmon and when Avery described her discovery of salmon jumping in a waterfall, her eyes lit up. Avery’s animated story-telling included how she watched them make their beds and spawn. Her mother, Holly McRae, added that Avery had to be eventually be coaxed out of the water.

After her wild salmon encounter, her party planning began. She invited her classmates and close friends. At the party she gave an introduction about salmon and their important role in the ecosystem, designed a game called ‘pin the egg in the red’ for all the kids to play, had her mother read about the life cycle of salmon while each child strung a bead bracelet to take home.

And most important to Avery, she encouraged everyone — kids and adults — to go out into nature and experience the beauty of salmon in the wild.

Avery encourages all kids looking to help protect the planet to ‘throw a party’, educate themselves on the issues that they are interested in, and have fun! She also knows that adults don’t always listen to kids and sometimes, kids understand and know more than adults (although she was quick to credit her parents for knowing a lot.) 

This Eugene, Oregon 4th grader is delighted to receive NCAP’s 2014 Rachel Carson Award because “it’s a chance to tell a lot of people about how kids can make a difference. Don’t depend on grown ups to do it all.”

The award ceremony will be held at the 2014 Healthy Harvest Celebration on October 4 at the Eugene Vets Ballroom.  Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door and are on sale now.  More information and tickets can be found here.

NCAP is a non-profit organization that works to protect community health and the environment through research, organizing and advocacy to promote alternatives to pesticides. They are based in the Northwest and have been active in pesticide reform efforts for over 30 years. Email Kim at kleval@pesticide.org or call 541-322-5044 ext. 15 with any questions.