For Immediate Release

October 25, 2011

This past weekend three environmental awards were presented to New Brunswick citizens and environmental groups in honour of exemplary service to their community.  The prizes, awarded by the New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN), recognize significant efforts by citizens and citizen groups toward the protection and restoration of New Brunswick’s environment.

Sabine Dietz, a director of the board of Nature NB and a member of many other non-profit groups, was the recipient of the Samaqan Award. Dietz is currently working at the provincial level as coordinator for the Regional Adaptation Collaborative which involves many types of agencies and governments and is focused on a number of projects that evaluate areas of concern, identifying infrastructure at risk, mitigation, and adaptation.  According to Mary Ann Coleman, Executive Director of the NBEN, “Sabine is being given this award in recognition of her determined and steadfast devotion to building a collaborative movement to protect New Brunswick coasts and coastal communities from the impacts of climate change”.

Sabine Dietz and Stephanie Merrill

Photo 1:  Left to right – Sabine Dietz, Nature NB, winner of Samaqan Award, Mary Ann Coleman, Executive Director, NBEN, Stephanie Merrill, Conservation Council of NB, winner of the Gaia Award.

The Gaia Award was presented to Stephanie Merrill, Freshwater Program Coordinator with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.  According to Coleman, “Stephanie has poured her heart and soul into working with community groups across the province.”  The prize recognizes “her inspirational and stalwart effort to build a province-wide movement dedicated to protecting New Brunswick communities from the perils of shale gas fracking.”

The Phoenix Award is dedicated to those who have been through the fire.  “In this province, the community of Penobsquis has been in the public eye for the past few years.” said Coleman.  “They lost their well water due to industrial activity and, since then, have had to fight many battles on many fronts in search of compensation for their loss.”  The 2011 Phoenix Award was presented to the Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis “in recognition of their unfaltering commitment to defending their community and home from the environmental impacts of industrial expansion in the face of a multitude of obstacles.”

Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis 640x426 

Photo 2:  Members of the Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis accepting the Phoenix Award; Brenda Lee Morrell, Gordon Fraser, Mary Ann Coleman, NBEN Executive Director (presenting the award), Beth Nixon, Garry Thomas and Beth Norrad.

The awards were presented at the 20th anniversary of the NBEN which was held during the Annual General Assembly in New Maryland on October 22, 2011.  During the assembly, member groups of the NBEN attended various workshops, discussions and field trips in the area.  As well, in celebration of the 20th anniversary, participants enjoyed a local food buffet and the music of the Fredericton band, Weak Size Fish. 

The New Brunswick Environmental Network is a non-profit communication network of over 90 citizen environmental groups from across the province.  The goal of the Network is to encourage communication among groups and between groups, government and other sectors.

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