Williamstown environmentalist honored for community advocacy


GREAT BARRINGTON — Lauren Stevens has spent more than 30 years raising awareness about local environmental causes, and last week his advocacy was recognized by the Center for EcoTechnology.

The Williamstown resident received the 2016 Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester Award for Community Environmental Leadership at the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce function at Crissey Farm.

The award is named after Silverstein and Dubester, a couple who each spent almost 40 years at Pittsfield-based CET, including 22 as the organization's co-directors before they retired together in 2010.

Silverstein died in 2014. This is the second year that CET has given out this award. Juliette Haas, a member of Egremont's Board of Health, was the inaugural winner last year.

"I've known Laura and Alan for many years," Stevens said after receiving the award. He described the award as "just very personal."

"There's just a whole lot of people in the tapestry of the Berkshires who I feel are worthy of the award," Stevens said.

The award is presented to a local citizen who is working in his or her community to benefit the local environment.

CET Associate Director Nancy Nylen, who presented the award, described Stevens as a community leader, writer, educator and outdoor activist, "who has been working to protect and raise awareness about our local environment" for several decades.

"And, in both his professional and personal life, if anyone walks the walk — and riding a bicycle definitely counts — it's Lauren Stevens," Nylen said.

A former English and environmental studies professor at Williams College, Stevens founded the Hoosic River Watershed Association 30 years ago. He has served as that organization's president or executive director, and been a board member since its inception.

Stevens has also served as either board member or as an advisor to numerous other organizations and initiatives including the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, the Mahican-Mohawk Trail Initiative, the Mount Greylock State Reservation Advisory Council and the Berkshire Renewable Energy Collaborative.

The founder of the Berkshire Advocate weekly newspaper, Stevens has authored several books and served as a weekly columnist for The Berkshire Eagle for many years.

Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413-496-6224.


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