Those Contributing to a Greener Region Honored at MORPC's Summit on Sustainability

October 2, 2015

Every year, MORPC’s Summit on Sustainability offers another opportunity to honor and recognize the individuals and organizations that have helped to improve Central Ohio – and make it a bit greener in the process. While the summit features a variety of educational sessions about public policy, energy, the environment, land use, and transportation, one of the highlights of the day is the presentation of the Green Region Awards.

New this year is the addition of the Green Mobility Award, in honor of the late William (Bill) A. Lewis, Jr., former City of Columbus Chief Mobility Engineer.

The Green Mobility Award recognizes an individual, either professional or student, exemplifying outstanding work towards creating a world-class multi-modal transportation system for Central Ohio. This year's award was presented to the family of Bill Lewis in recognition of his many accomplishments in the areas of active transportation, multi-modal transportation projects, and innovation projects, and his unwavering commitment to public service.

Mount Carmel Health System was presented with the Green Leader Award. The Green Leader Award recognizes an individual or entity exemplifying outstanding leadership and innovation in seeking comprehensive sustainability solutions to address key challenges facing the region. Mount Carmel is a leader in the healthcare industry related to environmental sustainability activities. A hospital system Green Team was established and in the past two years pledged to pursue the following Healthier Hospital Initiatives: Healthier Food, Leaner Energy, Less Waste, Safer Chemicals, and Smarter Purchasing. Some examples of Mount Carmel Health System’s innovative solutions include, the Healthier Beverage Challenge increased the amount of healthy beverages by 20 percent and an AEP rebate program/energy grant for use of Energy Star equipment and products during utility upgrades has resulted in cost savings and reduction of energy consumption.

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) was presented the Green Collaborative Achievement Award. The Green Collaborative Achievement Award recognizes a group of entities or individuals who have shown effectiveness in producing environmental accomplishments through a collaborative effort. FLOW and their partners have created a foundation of success for several on-going and new initiatives that support the fulfillment of FLOW’s mission - to keep the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy, through public education, volunteer activities, and coordination with local decision makers. Programs like the Adopt-A-Pond or FLOW’s Stream Quality Monitoring (SQM) initiative are all aimed at improving water quality, increasing the health of our watersheds, and offering different pathways for citizen watershed stewardship. On-going initiatives for the education and advocacy for installing rain barrels, rain gardens, and restoring the tributaries and river corridors of the lower Olentangy through invasive species removal, litter clean-ups, and native plantings are also entrenched in the spirit of collaboration.

We are grateful for these many contributions to our community and look forward to another year of moving forward with sustainability initiatives across the mid-Ohio region.