Conservation Award

The Delaware Audubon Conservation Award
2008 - Citizens for Clean Power

PLEASE NOTE: This is an archive article from 2008. It may contain out-of-date information.

IMAGE: 2008 Conservation Award recipients with their award plaques

L-R: 2008 Conservation Award recipients
Bill Zak, Pat Gearity, John Austin, and Kim Furtado

Delaware Audubon's annual Conservation Award was presented to the executive committee of the Citizens for Clean Power (CCP), a grassroots Sussex County organization dedicated to supporting clean, renewable energy. Members of the Executive Committee include Kit and Bill Zak, Pat Gearity, Nancy Feichtl, Kim Furtado, Connie Peterson, John Austin, and Charlie Dunham.

This is the first time the Delaware Audubon Conservation Award has gone to an organization. Honorees Kit Zak, Nancy Feichtl, Connie Peterson, and Charlie Dunham were unable to attend the presentation. Kit's husband Bill, in accepting the award, pointed out that his wife deserved much of the credit for getting the organization started.

Delaware Audubon's Conservation Chair Nicholas DiPasquale presented the award. He noted that Kit and Bill Zak began raising questions about the Indian River Power Plant in 2002. DiPasquale said one of the things that makes CCP unique is that it never formally organized "because they didn't want to put their energies into building an organization, but rather into focusing on direct action."

The CCP executive committee formed in 2006, meeting in members' homes. Their initial focus was on cleaning up or shutting down the Indian River Power Plant. That remains the primary focus today. They are engaged in all the political processes related to clean energy development in Delaware. CCP also has been a staunch supporter of the Bluewater Wind offshore wind energy project.

The group has been leading efforts to get the nation's first offshore wind farm established here. Kit Zak, one of the founders of the group, was quoted on National Public Radio: "I would love to see those windmills out there, because it would mean we were moving away from global warming and we were doing something progressive and something for the future generations."

DiPasquale said "many organized environmental groups, including Delaware Audubon, have played a supportive role. Despite our years of environmental advocacy, CCP is teaching us a few things," he said. "I personally believe that much of their success has been the result of not being burdened by the past. Many of CCP's members retired here from the Washington, DC, metro area where they knew how to make things happen. They came from varied backgrounds—educators, lawyers, government scientists, health professionals. In addition to being able to speak articulately about the issues, they also had a better developed sense of effective political action."

"Indeed, they brought Delaware's environmental community together, taking the best of what each organization had to offer and leaving behind any historic rivalries. They have traditional qualities that motivate many of us: determination, commitment, and a strong sense of what's right."