Geologist and Water Activist Dr. Jane Nielson, Ph.D. voted Environmentalist of the Year by Sonoma County environmentalists.

The Sonoma County Conservation Council, the Sierra Club, Sonoma Group and more than 170 activists gathered Saturday night at the Sebastopol Veterans Auditorium to honor individuals and local programs working to protect the environment.

Dr. Nielson was nominated by Stephen Fuller-Rowell, Susan Baur, Ursula Baur, Kathy Pons, Magick, Brenda Adelman, Jim Doerksen and Janus Holt Matthes: “Jane Nielson is our unsung hero. In 2003, she was one of co-founders of the Sebastopol Water Information Group (SWiG). At the request of the Sebastopol City Council Water Subcommittee, SWiG is helping develop a program for quantifying and managing water conservation and energy issues related to water, thus helping the City meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

As a board member of the Open Space, Water and Land Use (OWL) Foundation, Jane is an active participant in the search for realistic management of water resources in the Santa Rosa Plain. Jane brought to the Sonoma County Water Coalition (SCWC) a passion not only for environmental issues, but also for scientific integrity and logical consistency.

With a PhD in geology and experience from her United States Geological Survey (USGS) career, Jane provides pro bono geological reviews and generous financial support for many groups. Her advice has resulted in the re-writing or withdrawal of nine flawed draft EIRs. As a co-author of “The American West at Risk”, Jane is now gaining nationwide recognition. Jane does not seek the limelight and deserves local recognition for her solid work.”

All nomination statements can found at

Event Details

Turning The Tide with Local Water Solutions was the theme of the 34th annual Sonoma County Environmental Awards Dinner. Guest speaker Brock Dolman, the dynamic Director of Occidental Art and Ecology Center’s Water Institute, addressed local urban initiatives, agricultural conservation, our new gray water regulations and groundwater preservation. Evelina Molina of Youth Green Jobs was the MC. The Watershedders, led by Craig Anderson of LandPaths, provided the lively background music, and the sumptuous vegetarian meal was prepared by award winning A La Heart Catering. Sixteen environmental groups took part in the showcase.

The awards were presented by Rohnert Park Councilmember Jake Mackenzie assisted by Ms. Molina and Portia Sinnott, Chair of the Awards Committee. Also in attendance were Santa Rosa City Councilmembers Veronica Jacobi and Marsha Vas Dupre, Sebastopol Mayor Sarah Gurney and Councilmember Linda Kelly, Windsor City Councilmember Debora Fudge and Healdsburg City Councilmember Mike McGuire. A number of candidates also attended the dinner: Chris Mazzia who is running for Sonoma County Superior Court Judge, Lee Pierce for the seventh Assembly District seat and Jill Ravitch for District Attorney, plus the fore mentioned Debora Fudge and Mike McGuire who are running for the District 4 Supervisor seat, and Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi who is running for reelection in Santa Rosa. The award certificates were provided by the staff of Supervisors Carrillo and Zane, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, Senator Pat Wiggins and Assembly Members Noreen Evans, Mark Leno, Jared Huffman and Wes Chesbro.

A zero waste event, the event was produced by Green Synergy, a local green event team led by Portia Sinnott and Wendy Krupnick assisted by Diana Nasser and Joni Goshorn.

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