JANUARY 7, 2016 BY 

As posted by Matt Stensland at the Steamboat Today newspaper

 — A former Steamboat Springs City Council member, a 10-year-old girl, a lodging company and two teachers were among the recipients of awards presented Wednesday by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

“The awards are our way of celebrating in our community those that are doing great things in sustainability,” YVSC Executive Director Sarah Jones said during the group’s monthly meeting.

Jay Mogil, owner of Mogil’s on the Mountain camera store, was recognized as recycler of the year. The store now accepts used batteries for recycling.

“We thank him for all his effort to keep our landfills free of hazardous material,” YVSC Waste Diversion Director Emilie Rogers said.

Samantha Rockford, 10, was given the rising star award for her enthusiasm to learn about sustainability and her eagerness to help.

Rockford said she was inspired by the time she has spent with the Yampatika environmental advocacy group and her exposure to the zero-waste initiative at Steamboat’s Free Summer Concert Series.

“I thought I could help,” she said.

Steamboat Resorts was honored with the business award. The company maintains a community stewardship committee and adopted a highway, and its employees are encouraged to use their eight hours of paid volunteer time on sustainability efforts. Employees have also taken an introduction to sustainability class.

“The sustainability efforts of Steamboat Resorts has really wowed us, especially in the past year,” Jones said.

Kenny Reisman, who took a six-week vacation to Costa Rica after his term ended as a city council member, was recognized as a government leader.

“What people in this room work so hard for is a cause I care a lot about,” Reisman said.

Jones said Reisman has been a champion of sustainability at the city level.

Finally, two teachers received the sustainable educator awards.

Anna White’s perseverance at Strawberry Park Elementary School helped lead to an expanded composting program and a campaign to reuse paper by printing on the other side.

“It really has evolved to the point where she found what works,” Jones said.

Emerald Mountain School teacher Cindy Ruzicka was applauded for her creativity and innovation. Her students adopted Oak Street, carried out fundraising for more recycling bins and began using a tower garden. Students are also encouraged to pack zero-waste lunches.