Environmental Excellence Awards

Every year, we present five ATCEM Environmental Excellence Awards to recognize the hard work performed for preserving our environment for future generations. See the categories below and if you know someone or a group that deserves an award, consider nominating them for ATCEM 2025! More details to come.

  • Rising Star Award: Awarded to an individual who is just getting started in the tribal environmental field, but shows great promise to be an up-and-coming environmental leader in their community.
  • Environmental Leader Award: Awarded to an established tribal environmental professional who demonstrates outstanding motivation and leadership with environmental projects in their community.
  • Lifetime Achievement: Awarded to an individual who has made long-lasting environmental contributions that improve environmental health in their community over the course of many years. This individual is a true inspiration and deserving of the highest honor.
  • Helping Hands Award: Awarded to an individual, team, or organization that has provided exceptional services to support environmental projects in tribal communities.
  • Community/Group Award: Awarded to a group or a team that has demonstrated outstanding environmental leadership in their community and has worked together to improve their local environment.

2024 Award Winners

  • Helping Hands – Rebecca Colvin, AK Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Community/Group – Alakanuk Environmental Program
  • Rising Star – Alex Angerman, Wrangell Cooperative Association
  • Environmental Leader – Sarah Sherwood, Copper River Native Association
  • Lifetime Achievement – Carol Oliver, Native Village of Golovin

2023 Award Winners

  • Helping Hands – Sophie Manaster, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
  • Community/Group – Native Village of Selawik
  • Rising Star – Mary Hostetter, Igiugig Village Council 
  • Environmental Leader – Dan Gilliken, Native Village of Napaimute 
  • Lifetime Achievement – Jonathan Samuelson, Native Village of Georgetown / Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission 
  • SWAT Rockstar Individual – Jerry Sam, Tanana Chiefs Conference 
  • SWAT Rockstar Community/Group – City of Gambell and Native Village of Gambell

2021 Award Winners

  • Helping Hands – Mahri Lowinger, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Community/Group – Aleut Community of St. Paul Island’s Ecosystem Conservation Office (ECO)
  • Rising Star – Jessica Weaver, Native Village of Eyak 
  • Environmental Leader – Jennifer Hanlon, Yakutat Tlingit Tribe
  • Lifetime Achievement – Moses Tcheripanoff
  • SWAT Rockstar Individual – Reilly Kosinski, Zender Environmental Health and Research Group 
  • SWAT Rockstar Community/Group –  Chalkyitsik Environmental Dream Team

2020 Award Winners

  • Community/Group – Native Village of Kongiganak
  • Rising Star – Jeff Luther, Native Village of Noatak
  • Environmental Leader – Anahma Shannon, Kawerak, Inc.
  • Helping Hands – Lynn Zender, Zender Environmental Health and Research Group
  • Lifetime Achievement – Mary Goolie, U.S. EPA
  • SWAT Rockstar Individual – Augusta Edmond, Alakanuk Environmental Program
  • SWAT Rockstar Community/Group – Recycling Our Area Resources in Copper Valley and Native Village of Kongiganak

2019 Award Winners

  • Community/Group – Village of Bill Moore’s Slough & the Village of Kotlik
  • Rising Star – Matthew Murray, Native Village of Elim
  • Rising Star – Rayna Paul, Native Village of Kipnuk
  • Environmental Leader – Cynthia Beatus, Native Village of Hughes
  • Helping Hands – Mary Mullan, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
  • Lifetime Achievement – Willard “Bill” Hand, Native Village of Kluti-Kaah

2018 Award Winners

  • Community/Group – Ginger Bear, Belkofski Tribe & Melanie Newton, Agdaagux Tribe of King Cove
  • Rising Star – Susie Martin, Mentasta Village
  • Environmental Leader – Benjamin Stevens, Stevens Village
  • Helping Hands – Trisha Bower, ADEC Solid Waste Program
  • Lifetime Achievement – Wilson Justin, Cheesh’na Tribal Council

2017 Award Winners

  • Community/Group – Chalkyitsik Village
  • New Environmental Professional – Luis Echnique, Louden Tribe
  • Dr. James Berner Award for Children’s Health – Dr. Rosalyn Singleton
  • Walter Porter Lifetime Achievement – Ted Jacobson, RurAL CAP

2016 Award Winners

  • Community/Group – Ya Ne Dah Ah Tribal School, Chickaloon Village
  • New Environmental Professional – Brian Wright, Environmental Coordinator, Huslia Tribal Council
  • Outstanding Individual – Opik Ahkinga, Environmental Coordinator, Native Village of Diomede
  • Walter Porter Lifetime Achievement –  Tina Tinker, Environmental Coordinator, Aleknagik Traditional Council

2015 Award Winners

  • Community – Prince of Wales Tribal Environmental Coalition
  • New Environmental Professional – Johnathan Henzie, Environmental Coordinator, Allakaket
  • Individual Award- Stephen Price, ADEC Solid Waste Division
  • Walter Porter Lifetime Achievement – Michael Brubaker, ANTHC

2014 Award Winners

  • Community – Native Village of Galena
  • Team – Seldovia Village Tribe – Environmental Program
  • New Environmental Professional – Jerilyn Kelly, Environmental Coordinator, Kwinhagak IRA
  • Individual Award – Jeanine Heakin, Environmental Coordinator, Native Village of Eek
  • Walter Porter Lifetime Achievement – Cynthia Paniyak, Environmental Coordinator, Chevak Native Village