Community Members Awarded for Environmental Stewardship Efforts

Community Members Awarded for 
Environmental Stewardship Efforts

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - On Wednesday, May 4th the Meridian Township Environmental Commission presented the 2016 Environmental Stewardship Awards to six recipients.

The recipients were recognized for their involvement in many different environmental efforts around Meridian and surrounding areas.

The East Lansing Food Cooperative (ELFCO) was awarded for their efforts of putting people before profit through their sale of organic produce and whole grains.

“This is a real honor. We’re celebrating our 40th anniversary this year, from the basement of an MSU building in the 1970’s to where we are today, we’ve had several owners throughout the community. We are owned and invested very deeply throughout our community,” says Anne Woiwode, President of the ELFCO.

The second award went to a group of local residents who took it upon themselves in 2005 to to make Haslett a more attractive and enjoyable place to live. Ever since they have been planting and maintaining attractive flower beds throughout the area.

“It’s really pleasure to be recognized for this achievement. It’s been about 11 years now since we started in a basement of a church,” says Teri Banas, President of the Haslett Beautification Association.

Volunteers take care of gardens and weed local pots and plants. “A few of us got together and started collecting funds and digging in the dirt,” says Banas. They work rain or shine and enjoy doing it. “We are willing to work in all weather conditions and any other circumstances,” says Banas.

The third award went to newly promoted Assistant Police Chief Ken Plaga for his coordination and management of the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) efforts in Meridian Township. He has worked closely with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and other interested agencies to help control CWD and help local landowners understand CWD. He was at the Homeland Security Conference in Grand Rapids and was unable to attend the meeting to accept his award.

Police Chief David Hall accepted his award and spoke on his behalf. “It’s a good night when you can give out awards and see what they’ve done,” says Hall.

He also gave an update of CWD, “Arkansas has just came upon the situation that we’ve been going through. According to the Michigan DNR they’ve found 88 CWD positive deer so far out of testing 300 samples. We have 7 CWD positive deer out of 5,100 tests, four in Meridian and three elsewhere,” says Hall.

CWD efforts have stopped temporarily due to the fawning season, but should resume immediately after it is over according to Hall.

The fourth award went to Ody and Rachel Norkin from Michigan Flyer for their energy smart alternatives to using automobile, which has reduced emissions to near zero. “It is a big honor and we are celebrating our 30th anniversary as Okemos travel and 10th anniversary as Michigan Flyer. We didn’t start in a basement but we did start in a living room,” says Ody Norkin, Michigan Flyer.

Michigan Flyer along with Indian Trails has given the younger generation a chance to embrace public transportation.

Michael Thomas was the fifth recipient and served on the Environmental Commission from 1997-2004 and then again from 2011-2013. He chaired the Tree Conservation Ordinance Committee and has authored many esteemed works regarding environmental issues. He was recognized for protecting the environmental integrity of Meridian Township. “I’m very honored and I look forward to working with the Township in the future,” says Thomas.

The sixth recipient of the Environmental Stewardship Award, Dave Reicosky was not present to accept it but he was recognized for his creation of a grant that helped get milkweed in the Township and his efforts to help create awareness of the Monarch Butterfly population among children.

All recipients are appreciated for their efforts of protecting the environmental integrity of Meridian Township and surrounding areas.

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