The last two weeks have been full of historical recognition and celebrated accomplishments in the world of water, the environment and beautification. Both national and state wide events have been recognized, beginning with the 40th anniversary celebration of the Clean Water Act, continuing through the 2012 Keep Michigan Beautiful Awards Ceremony, and ending in Harrison Township, MI. This is where Keep Michigan Beautiful meets the Clean Water Act, so to speak, and Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition are presented.
First of all, in a ceremony at Huroc Park on the banks of the Huron River in Flat Rock, MI, Congressman John Dingell, a major advocate of the Clean Water Act, headlined an event celebrating the passage of this landmark legislation.
In an exchange today, Congressman John Dingell (D-MI15) said, “I was honored to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act on the banks of the Huron river earlier this month. Michigan is truly blessed with a vast and marvelous natural resource~the Great Lakes~and I am proud to have played an integral role in passing landmark legislation to protect it for years to come.”
“As a long-time conservationist and outdoorsman, I firmly believe that we owe it to future generations to restore and protect national treasures like the Great Lakes and the waterways we recreate in.”
“As my dear Dad taught me, we borrow the resources of today from our citizens of tomorrow,” finished Congressman Dingell.
Among others in attendance, Terry Laymon, State Chair of Michigan Ducks Unlimited, shared with us that, “The Clean Water Act made a big difference for sportsmen and women, especially here in Michigan.”
“We appreciate the leadership of Congressman John Dingell and look forward to a future where our children and grandchildren can enjoy the same resources.”
And, as fate would have it, the 2012 Keep Michigan Beautiful Awards Ceremony was held just one day after the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Clean Water Act, and Congressman John Dingell happily attended. Keep Michigan Beautiful has recently celebrated its 50th year anniversary.
In speaking about this event attended by the Congressman, Mr. Dingell shared today, “For 50 years, Keep Michigan Beautiful has been mobilizing volunteers to do so much to make Michigan a more beautiful place to live, visit, work, and play. As an organization, they have expanded from metro Detroit to all of Michigan’s 83 counties.”
Continuing, he said, “I was pleased to have congratulated this year’s award winners, and commend volunteers across Michigan for making significant strides in preserving the Great Lake State.”
Also happily attending the KMB event, among many, many other were representatives of the Harrison Township Environmental Committee, who were again awarded the Keep Michigan Beautiful President’s Plaque for their monumental efforts in their 2012 Nautical Coast Clean Up. The volunteers and donors that participated in that clean up managed to remove 33.11 TONS of debris from Lake St. Clair and the surrounding shorelines and bike paths.
In addition, as Event Coordinator, Teri Landis was awarded the President’s Plaque, and invited to be on the Board of Directors of Keep Michigan Beautiful.
“It is an awesome day when the combined efforts of neighbors, Boy Scouts, Civil Air Patrol Cadets, members of the Clinton River Watershed Council, members of the Harrison Township Environmental Committee, L’Anse Creuse High School students, members of St. Hubert Catholic Church, Sea Cadets, Trustees from the Office of Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, along with more than 40 businesses, are so highly recognized by such a distinguished group as Keep Michigan Beautiful,” Landis said.
From there, to show this dedicated team of volunteers and donors some personal, extra ordinary appreciation, the Harrison Township Environmental Committee sponsors their own Awards Ceremony wherein Pat Deck, Past President of Keep Michigan Beautiful came to Harrison Township and re-presented the Environmental Committee and Teri Landis their President’s Plaques.
Harrison Township Supervisor, Ken Verkest, welcomed everyone and thanked the volunteers and donors for their impressive service to the Township and Community at large. Verkest warmly introduced Pat Deck.
Deck spoke to the standing room only gathering about how “very impressed” she was with the “lovely ceremony” and how the people “take pride in their local community. That speaks more about the community, that people care about where they live and are working to protect the charming waterways of Michigan. This is a small town community in action, who appreciate being recognized for helping to make a better community for all of us to live in. My hat is off to your Township!”
Reiterating some of Congressman John Dingell’s thoughts from the KMB ceremony, Deck said that, “He tried to stress the importance of environmentalism and how critical it it is. And throughout all of his years of service, John Dingell worked hard to promote the environment.” She also shared that Dingell worked as a park ranger early in his career.
From there, Certificates of Special Recognition from Macomb County Executive, Mark Hackel, were presented by Pam Lavers, Assistant Macomb County Executive. Lavers explained that “The 3 pillars of our Blue Economy Initiative are Economic Development, Quality of Life, and Environmental Stewardship.” Continuing, she said we had done a “great job – once again!”
Josh Gunn, Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator, and newly arrived here in Michigan from Texas, spoke on behalf of John Ropp of the Michigan Boating Industries Association. He shared that the removal of 7.56 TONS of logs from Lake St. Clair during the 2012 Nautical Coast Clean Up, and kicking it up a notch, was extremely helpful for the boating industry, in particular, in that it helped to save props and out drives.
Credit was given to TowBoatUS – Lake St. Clair for their particular assistance in pulling the logs out of the lake and towing them to shore. They also donated their time and boat in this unprecedented endeavor.
Terry Laymon, Michigan State Chair of Ducks Unlimited, then tied it all together, as he spoke of the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Clean Water Act with Congressman Dingell, and his dedication to environmentalism.
Then Laymon touched on the Keep Michigan Awards Ceremony wherein recognition is given to exterior projects that involve environmental clean up, historical preservation, site beautification and restoration, and environmental educational programs for children and adults.
And lastly, Laymon linked the dedication and efforts of the volunteers and donors of the 2012 Nautical Coast Clean Up, to the ideas and ideals of both organizations.
Ending, Laymon shared that, “Out of Michigan’s 30,000 Ducks Unlimited members, at least 75% are conservationists. The general populous I feel think we are all duck hunters, which is not the case.”
The ceremony continued on to the Grand Finale, with Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and Bridget Johnson of Senator Debbie Stabenow’s Office helping to present each of the volunteers and donors with Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition from the Offices of Congresswoman Candice Miller, Senator Debbie Stabenow and Senator Carl Levin. These certificates are issued for outstanding public service to the community.
Our final piece of information disseminated is that Keep Michigan Beautiful, through a grant from Keep America Beautiful, is sponsoring a campaign to keep the cigarette butts and cigar tips out of Lake St. Clair. They have personal pocket ash trays and “boat ash tray” samples that they are looking to get out into the waterfront community, and those connected to it. For more information to contact them, go to the KMB website.
With that, the half hour ceremony came to an energetic ending. People animatedly entered the lobby for more picture taking, and networking, agreeing that this year’s celebration of our 2012 Nautical Coast Clean Up was, again, a huge success, and they were marking their calendars for May 18-19, 2013.