Wendy Penner Earns Center for EcoTechnology’s Environmental Leadership Award
Wendy Penner Receives 2019 Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester Award for
Community Environmental Leadership
4/22/19 Pittsfield, MA – Wendy Penner has received the 2019 Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester Award for Community Environmental Leadership from the Center for EcoTechnology (CET).
Penner will be given her award this evening Monday, April 22 (which happens to be Earth Day), at the Williamstown Select Board meeting. Award namesake Laura Dubester and CET Board Member Nancy Nylen are the presenters. The award is named after Silverstein and Dubester, who served as co-directors of CET for decades until they retired in 2010. Dubester joined CET in 1977 and Silverstein in 1978. They became co-directors of the organization in 1988. Silverstein passed away in 2014.
“I deeply admire Laura and Alan for their vision and dedication to finding positive and practical solutions that empower people from all walks of life to “think globally, act locally,” stated Penner. “It’s especially meaningful to me to be recognized with an award named for them.”
The award is given by CET to a local citizen or group who is working in their community to benefit the local environment with a focus on reducing the harmful impacts that humans can have on the environment, and the positive steps that people can take at home, work, and in their communities that help protect the environment, improve quality of life, and build community.
“Wendy Penner is a true community leader who has been working to raise awareness and encourage people to take positive actions to protect our environment, at the local level and beyond,” said CET President John Majercak. “We believe the best way to honor Alan and Laura’s work is to recognize the work and commitment of other remarkable people like Wendy.”
Penner is chair of the Williamstown COOL (CO2 Lowering) Committee and has been actively engaged as a member since 2005. On the Committee, Penner partnered with the Williamstown Elementary School, Mount Greylock Regional High School, and the Center for EcoTechnology to conduct outreach and education to students and their families about energy efficiency and renewable energy. Under her direction, several hundred students have participated in energy days at their schools and toured nearby clean energy facilities such as the Jiminy Peak wind turbine. Working closely with Williams College and other community partners, Wendy has brought numerous educational and outreach events to Williamstown, including a climate change talk by Bill McKibben and several Earth Day energy fairs.
Her efforts to raise awareness extended to a campaign where over 80 Williamstown households calculated their carbon footprint and pledged to reduce it using the New England Carbon Challenge tool. Penner and the COOL Committee helped them meet that pledge by coordinating a workshop series entitled “In My Backyard” to educate and encourage people to take actions to reduce their carbon footprint by installing energy efficient lighting, insulating their homes, composting their waste and installing clotheslines.
Wendy also helped lead efforts to encourage residents to participate in the Mass Save program and choose green electricity via the National Grid GreenUp program. Her assistance helped Williamstown receive a special bonus enabling them to install solar panels on the public library to power their new air conditioning system.
Under Penner’s leadership, the COOL Committee worked closely with Williamstown to achieve designation as a Green Community and to coordinate a very successful Williamstown Solarize MA program in 2013 during which nearly 80 households installed solar PV. Building on that success Penner recently coordinated the submission of an application for Williamstown to conduct Solarize Plus – a multi-pronged solar campaign to dramatically increase the number of clean energy installations in our community.
For those who are unable to make it to the Williamstown Select Board meeting, it will be available for streaming on WilliNet Community Television.
For more than 40 years, the Center for EcoTechnology has helped people and businesses save energy and reduce waste. For more information visit cetonline.org.
Thank you to WilliNet for streaming this award presentation!