New categories and an updated show format added plenty of excitement to the 38th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards presented by SRP. The quality and diversity of the entries also made this year's competition one to remember. The organizations and individuals that entered showcased how sustainability continues to improve our quality of life in communities of all sizes.
Let’s take a look back at all the first-place Crescordia winners for some inspiration: Though the 2019 Call for Entries seem far away, it’s never too early to prepare your future Crescordia-winning entry!
THE GOVERNOR’S AWARD FOR ARIZONA’S FUTURE
The Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge
The Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge successfully lobbied to rescind a multi-decade, statewide prohibition against potable reuse, aka “toilet to tap.” And yes, the team also worked with brewers statewide to convince people to drink craft beer made from recycled water!
- 17-member team
- 9 months of face-to-face interaction with residents statewide
- 26 craft brewers
- New legislation, a new life for potable reuse
BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES - CIVIC AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION
Local First Arizona founder Kimber Lanning saved a bungalow that was slated for demolition and gave it new life as the Local First Arizona headquarters. Her effort preserved a piece of Phoenix history while giving it a functional future.
- Focal point for 30,000 First Friday events each month
- Built in 1910
- Process took more than three years
BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES - COMMERCIAL AND INSTITUTIONAL
The Ocotillo Restaurant features desert-adaptive materials and water-harvesting elements that blend perfectly into the Southwest. It’s a sustainable gathering place for all ages that improves the surrounding community.
- Desert palo brea and mesquite trees provide shade.
- The restaurant’s namesake ocotillo plants are featured at key locations.
- A sunken lawn provides a versatile gathering place and harvests water.
SITE DEVELOPMENT - LANDSCAPE AND PRESERVES*
Northern Arizona Pollinator Habitat Initiative (NAZPHI)
The Northern Arizona Pollinator Habitat Initiative promotes the creation, protection and registration of pollinator habitat across Northern Arizona, while highlighting the important role pollinators fulfill in the global food supply. The initiative also provides guidance to other communities who’d like to replicate the effort.
- Designed to stop the decline of pollinators around the world
- Increased local pollinator garden registration tenfold in its first year
- Provides a step-by-step guide for implementation by communities worldwide
Tohono Chul Park Master Plan
The Tohono Chul Park Master Plan is the culmination of consistent, considered effort that began in 2001 and resulted in a fine balance between increasing visitation and environmental protection. It’s not easy to sustain a vision for nearly two decades, but Tohono Chul succeeded brilliantly!
- Enhanced visitor services, including easier accessibility, ADA upgrades, interpretive signage, lighting, expanded parking areas and public restrooms
- Expanded plant propagation areas
- Added new trails and enhancements to existing trails
*Judges named two Crescordia winners in this category.
HEALTHY COMMUNITIES - SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
Spaces of Opportunity
Spaces of Opportunity addresses community connections, food deserts and social justice on an inspiring scale and allows residents to learn about science, technology, engineering and agriculture. It has incredible potential to become a community point of pride and could have a positive effect in reducing poverty in the area.
- Incubator farm encompasses 3,000 square feet
- Kale, mustard greens and beets sprouted this year
- Makes farming a source of income, self-esteem and respect
HEALTHY COMMUNITIES - MULTIMODAL TRANSPORTATION AND CONNECTIVITY
Mesa Rio Salado-Stadium Connector Pathway
The Mesa Rio Salado-Stadium Connector Pathway filled a critical 3.5-mile gap in the Valley’s network of shared-use paths along the Salt River, Crosscut Canal, and adjacent neighborhoods. It also connects to a larger vision to make the Rio Salado a recreational, commerce and residential hub for metro Phoenix.
- Connects to destinations in Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix
- Community partners include the Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s, Riverview Development, SRP, Arizona Department of Transportation, Flood Control District of Maricopa County, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, City of Mesa, and the City of Tempe
- Incorporates Low Impact Development principals such as bioswale water harvesting landscape islands
HEALTHY COMMUNITIES - PUBLIC POLICY/PLANS
South Mountain Park and Preserve Trails Master Plan (SMPTMP)
The South Mountain Park and Preserve Plan will help this nationally recognized desert mountain preserve address the challenges of increasing popularity so future generations can connect with the desert. The timing is perfect with the park’s 100th anniversary approaching.
- Identifies 51 miles of existing designated trails to be protected or improved
- Adopts 38 miles of existing non-designated trails into the designated trail system
- Adds 11 miles of new trails for connectivity
- Identifies 80 miles of non-designated trails intended to be restored back to their natural condition
HEALTHY COMMUNITIES - PARKS AND TRAILS
U-Haul / The Conservation Fund: Upper Granite Creek Aspen Restoration Project
U-Haul designated a portion of customer contributions in 2017-2018 to the National Forest Foundation to support its Prescott Aspen Restoration Project in the Prescott National Forest. This effort also protects a watershed that is critical to Prescott and its residents.
- 150 acres across two aspen stands were restored
- Aspen stands are an increasingly rare but important habitat in the Prescott National Forest
- Hand-thinning treatments removed ponderosa pine in and around aspen stands
- Trail rehabilitation improved the user experience
ENERGY AND TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION
City of Peoria Patrol Services Building
The City of Peoria’s new Patrol Services Building provides an immediate return on investment through ongoing water and energy reduction while providing a comfortable work environment for Peoria’s officers and staff. It’s also a perfect example of how green building offers a noticeable return on investment.
- Photovoltaic system will offset two-thirds of the facility’s total grid power and provide shade for the public safety fleet
- 41 percent reduction in energy cost over a typical building
- 27 percent reduction in lighting power density compared to a typical building of this size
- 17,000-square-foot LEED Gold (certification pending) building
ART, ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION
Glendale Desert Food Forest
Part regenerative landscape and part outdoor classroom, the Glendale Desert Food Forest connects residents to the Sonoran Desert’s array of water-wise edible plants. It engages residents in learning about our arid landscape and shows there is more to our flora than meets the eye.
- Over 100 edible plants
- Funded through an Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management grant
- Involved several partners, including the Glendale Public Library, Linking Edible Arizona Forests Network, Maricopa County Master Gardener program, and Trees Matter
- “Taste Your Yard” programs encourage people to sample desert foods, such as agave syrup, prickly pear candy and pomegranate juice
SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION - ORGANIZATIONS AND PROJECTS
Northern Arizona Forest Fund
The Northern Arizona Forest Fund focuses on projects that reduce wildfire risk, minimize erosion and sedimentation, improve hydrologic function and protect invaluable watersheds. It also offers a replicable model for other arid regions facing threats from declining forest health. (NOTE: The Northern Arizona Forest Fund was also selected from among the Crescordia winners as the President's Award winner, which is the highest honor of the evening.)
- 20 high-priority watershed restoration projects across all five national forests of northern Arizona
- 10,500 acres of fuels reduction projects
- 100 miles of erosion control and drainage improvement on roads and trails
SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION - INDIVIDUALS
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton worked tirelessly to establish Phoenix as an oasis of pragmatic, economically beneficial environmentalism. His efforts enhanced the city’s reputation for embracing ideas that can make it more resilient.
- Asked Phoenix voters to approve a tax increase to benefit mass transit while running for his own re-election
- Implemented changing 100,000 Phoenix streetlights to LED bulbs
- Worked to convert city vehicles to alternative fuels
- Instrumental in developing public-private circular economy partnership through ASU to raise landfill diversion to 30 percent
- Awards include the Cities4ZeroWaste, C40 Award, the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, and the Mayor’s Climate Protection Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors
Waste Management Phoenix Open
The Waste Management Phoenix Open (WMPO) is a Zero Waste Event that tracks greenhouse gas emissions and minimizes the tournament’s carbon footprint. It also provides a platform for Waste Management to share its knowledge with other organizations - which creates a more modest learning curve to help other companies embrace sustainable practices.
- Uses renewable energy, saves and restores water, stores materials and signage for reuse, educates attendees through messaging and on-course activations, and ensures that discarded items go to their next best use.
- Restored 236 million gallons of water to freshwater ecosystems across Arizona
- Recognized by the Council for Responsible Sport
- $56 million in proceeds have benefited charities throughout the state
Once again, congratulations to all of our winners and a big "thank you" to our friends at SRP for making this event possible!