The Buzzards Bay Guardian Award is the highest honor given by the Coalition. Buzzards Bay Guardians have demonstrated outstanding service in the cleanup, restoration, or protection of the Bay. Most importantly, Buzzards Bay Guardians are unsung heroes or heroines who deserve public recognition, not only for what they have achieved but to inspire others to make a difference.
This year, the Coalition presented four Guardian awards to five people who have worked tirelessly to address nitrogen pollution, conserve land, protect Buzzards Bay from oil spills, and track the Bay’s health.
Paul Niedzwiecki, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission, received a Guardian Award for his outstanding leadership in producing the updated Cape Cod 208 Water Quality Plan. This long-awaited plan charts a path for addressing the Cape’s nitrogen pollution crisis.
For her leadership on protecting Nasketucket Bay, Jennifer Howard, Director of Land Protection at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, also received a Guardian Award. Howard supported the completion of the Nasketucket Bay Land Conservation Project, which helped double the size of the Nasketucket Bay State Reservation in Mattapoisett and Fairhaven.
Massachusetts’ Assistant Attorneys General Seth Schofield and Pierce Cray received Guardian Awards for their decade of excellent defense of the Massachusetts Oil Spill Prevention Act, which has protected Buzzards Bay against major oil spills for the past 11 years.
For a lifetime of extraordinary service to the Bay, the final Guardian Award of 2015 went to Joe Costa, Executive Director of the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program. Among his many achievements, Costa started the Baywatchers water quality monitoring program, the Coalition’s award-winning program that has tracked the Bay’s health for the past 24 years.
In addition to the Guardian Awards, the Coalition also recognized Tally Garfield of Dartmouth and Jean Bennett of New Bedford as its Volunteers of the Year. Garfield and Bennett have dedicated years of service to the Bay and the Coalition, and currently act as educational docents in the Richard C. Wheeler Bay Learning Center. Notably in the past year, Garfield helped the Coalition archive more than 20 years of media history and Bennett was a strong advocate in the campaign to pass the Community Preservation Act in New Bedford.