Mike Birrer

Serve Tucson

Mike Birrer created the grassroots organization, Serve Tucson, in 2011 and has been quietly coordinating groups to help beautify the city ever since. He’s built close connections with several schools throughout Tucson and works tirelessly to keep their grounds attractive, install murals and revitalize their gardens.

Mike regularly plans small-scale cleanups, which include picking up trash and removing weeds and other debris along roadways, as well as large-scale beautification projects for streets, neighborhoods and schools through the United Way Days of Caring.

Mike does not actively solicit donations for Serve Tucson; instead he gives freely of his time and resources because it's his life's passion to help make Tucson as beautiful as it can be. He inspires volunteers of all ages to take pride in their community and even asks the students he works with to share what they love about Tucson using #whyilovewhereilive, which is found on murals throughout the city.

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Jinger Wallace

Laguna Bluebelt Coalition

As a co-founder of the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition, Jinger Wallace brings together community groups and concerned citizens to protect and restore California’s sea life and regional fisheries. Her work created a unique contiguous Greenbelt/Bluebelt surrounding the city of Laguna Beach benefitting the environment, residents and more than 8 million annual visitors.

Jinger pioneered partnerships with inland water districts and county and city agencies to address dry weather urban runoff polluting Aliso Beach and the nearby State Marine Conservation Area. By tracking and abating unpermitted flows of urban runoff to Aliso Creek, she’s been able to keep the Aliso Beach Sand Berm in place to provide safe public access and health protection from runoff entering the ocean.

Jinger also encourages local residents to become a Berm Buddy to speak up in support of protecting the Aliso Beach sand berm. Her dedication to a healthy ocean has won the support and accolades of many, and the Annual Laguna Bluebelt Photo Contest, which is organized by Jinger’s dynamic team, is now in its 9th year, boasting over 500 entries and generous prizes from local businesses.

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Dori Hughes

Sea Turtle Preservation Society

Dori Hughes is a devoted volunteer. She has a strong passion for protecting endangered sea turtles and their marine habitats. In addition to conserving her local beaches through monthly cleanups, she dedicates her time to both the Sea Turtle Preservation Society and the Brevard Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center.

At the Sea Turtle Healing Center, Dori helps maintain and clean the holding tanks, prepares meals for the sea turtles and feeds them. She also assists the medical staff with treatments and in releasing the turtles back into the ocean when their treatment is complete.

One of Dori’s favorite activities with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society is conducting Nesting Surveys. She loves walking the beach while looking for turtle tracks and educating beachgoers along the way. She is the Permit Holder for Nesting Surveys and is in charge of all the volunteer teams. Dori also reports the data collected to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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Susan Spratt

Jolly Avenue Garden

Susan Spratt embodies the spirit of someone who improves the environment and inspires others to do the same. She’s been a passionate, committed volunteer at the Jolly Avenue Garden since 2012 when she fell in love with the refugee community, the beauty and serenity of the garden, and all the programs it offers for well-being, education and employment.

Over the years, Susan has spent countless hours at the garden building relationships with community members, sharing meals, mentoring youth and planning events that promote conservation, healthy eating and urban agriculture.

She aims to teach, inspire and connect both refugees and native-born American volunteers to preserve and cultivate the earth around them. She has also shared her insight, influence and generosity to help Friends of Refugees complete a major capital campaign to build a game-changing green building in front of the gardens, which will actively restore the land to the rainwater state of a virgin forest. This parcel of land will interact with the rains that fall on it just as it did more than 150 years ago, while also serving nearly 8,000 people with opportunities to flourish.

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Lenny Lemoine

Lafayette Central Park

Lenny Lemoine is a pillar in the community. He’s devoted his life to improving the region by serving on numerous boards and financially supporting many worthy causes. One of his more notable contributions is his leadership in the creation of Lafayette Central Park, the nonprofit conservancy currently building a new 100-acre, world-class central park in the heart of Lafayette, Louisiana. Once completed, the park will feature rolling hills, open meadows, forested ravines and wetland boardwalks. It’s the last remaining significantly sized piece of undeveloped public property located within the city.

Lenny has overseen the community engagement, planning, design and current construction of the crown jewel of the park system. He’s a major donor, and as co-chairman of the park’s capital campaign, he’s helped to raise over $20 million in private funds. Lenny is committed to ensuring the park will serve residents and visitors for years to come.

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Karen Buck

Mystic River Watershed Association

When Karen Buck shows up at community meetings, she’s jokingly greeted with, “The Malden River is here!” Karen has long advocated for the transformation of the neglected waterway, a tributary to the well-known Mystic River. She’s led clean ups on the Malden, helped install a trash boom and collects data to stop trash from flowing into storm water systems that would eventually end up in the oceans. 

Karen is a community builder and citizen scientist who works tirelessly to revitalize the river banks, create access for boating and improve wildlife habitats She volunteers as a water quality monitor for the Mystic River Watershed Association and leads The Friends of the Malden River. She also has encouraged Malden residents to become participants in open space planning of the waterfront. Karen’s volunteer outreach has helped an entire community see the potential of the Malden River and unite to create more public access.

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Diana Christopulos

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Diana Christopulos is a dedicated advocate for the environmental community of Roanoke Valley. She’s a leading voice to reduce the region's carbon footprint, save public and private open spaces, and minimize the adverse environmental impact of development projects.

Diana serves as president of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, the region's largest private land conservation organization. They hold conservation easements on over 20,000 acres of private farm and forest land to be preserved in open space in perpetuity. She also is the president of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, which maintains and protects parts of the Appalachian Trail that runs through the Roanoke region. And, as president of the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition, Diana led the campaign to have local governments determine their carbon footprints and reduce their energy consumption.

Diana educates the public on conservation issues — often through op-eds in the Roanoke Times. She even helped to persuade the Mountain Valley Pipeline to relocate its pipeline route to mitigate the environmental impact. Her work to decrease the region's carbon footprint contributes to its overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

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Erika Greenberg


For the past 10 years, Erika Greenberg has been the volunteer leader for a student club called WATER (We Appreciate the Earth's Resources), where she works closely with young people committed to local environmental causes. She facilitates a group of passionate volunteers who collaborate with county, city and school groups to promote environmental education and outreach. Erika helps students identify their focus for the school year, prioritize their efforts and implement their ideas.

Erika's leadership and facilitation of the WATER club creates inter-generational momentum to reduce the human impact on the environment. And, through her ongoing support of both the students and the cause, the entire community bears the mark in meaningful and lasting ways, including recycling efforts, outreach, education and publicity related to environmental awareness. Students are the voice of the future, and Erika's work ensures their voice is heard.

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