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BEC Recognizes Lifetime Achievement


October 8, 2013
Chico, Calif. Oct. 8, 2013- In celebrating its 38th anniversary, the Butte Environmental Council is looking to recognize environmental heroes in our community and also looking back over the decades to recognize those who’ve given years of service on behalf of the environment.
BEC is proud to honor the following individuals with this year’s awards:
  • Wes Dempsy – Michael McGinnis Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Dave Garcia – Colleen Jarvis Environmentalist of the Year Award
  • Susan and Stephen Tchudi – Barris Farms Service Award
This year BEC will recognize Chico resident Wes Dempsey with the newly created Michael McGinnis Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award, named after founding member Michael McGinnis, is intended to recognize an individual who has led lifelong efforts in environmental advocacy and education.
Wes Dempsey came to Chico in 1954 to teach at Chico State, first in Agriculture, and then Biology.  He was a co-founder of the Yahi Chater of the Sierra Club, and from that position was one of a dozen activists who came together in 1975 to form the Butte Environmental Council.  “Wes was on the original Board of Directors, says Micheal McGinnis, “Wes was the giant whose shoulders we stood on to see further.” In addition to his organizational work, Wes has been a Tour guide for well over 1,000 field trips for schools, Sierra Club, California Native Plant Society, and Chico residents.
Environmentalist of the Year for 2013, Dave Garcia is a local activist with BEC, the Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch and Californians Against Fracking.  Said executive director Robyn DiFalco “Dave has worked tirelessly for years to educate the public about the threat of fracking and that issue is now a local concern in our region”.  What some people may not know is that Dave Garcia is a retired State Parks Ranger and now volunteers his time on local issues and also leads many Sierra Club wilderness tours throughout the western United States.
The 2013 Barris Farms Service Award goes to Susan and Stephen Tchudi, hosts of the weekly Ecotopia radio show on KZFR 90.1 FM.  In addition to the great work they do to produce this weekly radio show about local and global environmental topics, Susan and Stephen have volunteered many hours over the past several years coordinating the annual Procession of the Species, a children’s parade of papier mache endangered animals that takes place during the annual Endangered Species Faire in May.  "The personal commitment that Stephen and Susan have toward educating our children about endangered species is nothing short of amazing.  They make the Endangered Species Faire, and the Procession of the Species in particular, such an overwhelming enjoyable experience for our students" said teacher John Howlett from Sherwood Montessori Charter School.
“I am continually amazed that so many people have been engaged in such good work for the betterment of our community,” said Mark Stemen, Chair of Butte Environmental Council. “And when it comes to someone like Wes, I am in awe.  He has lived the lifestyle that we all aspire to.” 
Recipients were carefully chosen by the Butte Environmental Council board last month.  The awards will be presented at BEC’s 38th Anniversary Gala fundraiser on Saturday, October 19th at the Arc Pavilion.  Tickets are $40.  The event will feature a locally sourced seasonal dinner prepared by Kaelen Davis of Santino’s Catering, live music by Kyle Williams, and a Silent Auction.   
Present and past award recipients have helped BEC become the successful environmental organization that it is, with achievements this year including the Endangered Species Faire, the Bidwell Parks & Chico Creeks Clean Up, the Chico Bicycle Music Festival, the Code Blue series of citizen workshops on regional water issues, and the Dioxin awareness campaign in Oroville. BEC also provides recycling education to Butte County schools through the Recycling And Rubbish Education program or RARE.  
The Butte Environmental Council (BEC) is a non-profit environmental organization based in Chico, California. BEC’s mission is to preserve and conserve the Earth’s natural resources, with particular attention to environmental issues in Northern California. BEC was formed in 1975 and throughout its 37 years, BEC has had a significant voice in shaping the environment and policies of Butte County and beyond. 
For more information about the Gala event or the Awards recipients visit the Gala Event Page.