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Thursday, January 14, 2010

WWC Award Winner's Story in Peninsula Daily News

Posted by: Michael Lanthier

Connie Gallant is an incredible asset to the conservation community here in Washington State and especially on the Olympic Peninsula where she resides. To honor Connie for her continued work, Congressman Norm Dicks presented her with Washington Wilderness Coalitions' first ever Karen M. Fant Award at November's 30th Anniversary Annual Dinner and Auction. Karen was a co-founder and inspirational leader for Washington Wilderness, and the award honors those volunteers who demonstrate that same love for conservation and relentless spirit to protect our wild lands.

In the January 3, 2010, "Peninsula Woman," a publication by the Peninsula Daily News, reporter Jennifer Jackson tells Connie's story and describes how she is a different type of activist. To reach consensus she is always open to listening and working with others.

The paper quotes Connie, "I like to listen to both sides. If you don't listen to people, how are you going to make a good judgment."

Connie is an active member of a number of wilderness organizations, including the Olympic Forest Coalition where she serves on the board as Vice-President and works to protect peninsula watersheds and water resources. "My focus is to try to help here on the Olympic Peninsula - to restore what we have lost and to protect what we have," Connie says as quoted in the paper.

The 30th Anniversary Dinner Celebration, marked the hard work and dedication of WWC's co-founders, the late Karen M. Fant and Ken Gersten who began in 1979 with the idea of creating an organization to focus solely on protecting wilderness on public lands.

WWC was pleased to present two awards this year. The Karen M. Fant Award was awarded to Connie Gallant, and The New Conservation Voices Award was presented to Tom O’Keefe, Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director of American Whitewater. Tom is an expert in aquatic ecology, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to the conservation community. He has worked with WWC on several ongoing campaigns, including the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers legislation and the Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative.

Awards were original black and white framed photographs, donated by Steven Fey of Steven Fey Photography.

Top cover photo by Jennifer Jackson, Peninsula Woman.

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