California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger accepted the 2009 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award on October 29 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The Award, NPT's highest honor, recognized the Governor for his leadership and innovation in the protection of public lands in California and for his life-long commitment to children's health and to connecting them with the outdoors.
NPT recognized Governor Schwarzenegger for his overall record in land conservation, the highlights of which include the creation of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, the protection of important coastal areas in California, the preservation and stewardship of related forests and stream habitat, and his initiatives promoting youth fitness and out-of-doors experiences, exemplified in California Children's Bill of Rights. NPT also recognized the Governor for his leadership in addressing climate change and alternative energy.
In his remarks the Governor said, "Bruce Vento was an amazing man there's no two ways about it. We have seen it in this footage of all the things he accomplished. And we all know how hard he worked for the people and the environment. It is a true honor to receive this award in his name."
At the event, board vice chair Diana Leon Taylor presented the Governor with what she calls the ‘real' award - his own Buddy Bison, NPT's stuffed animal mascot which encourages children and their families to reconnect with our nation's parks. Immediately following the award reception, the Governor took a photo with Buddy Bison and sent it to his 1.3 million followers on Twitter. The post quickly received more than 9,000 views!
NPT's Board Chair, William Brownell and Executive Director, Grace Lee both expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the organizations and individuals who sponsored the event.
• The Rocksprings Foundation
• Bingham McCutchen LLP
• Edison International
• National Association of Realtors
• Paladin Capital Group
• PaulHastings LLP
• Bank of America
• Cantor CO2e
• Hunton & Williams LLP
• The Yolande Leon Foundation
Each year, NPT honors a public servant with the Vento Award for his or her commitment to the environment and service, skill and innovation in support of our public lands. The bipartisan Award was established in 2000 to honor the legacy of Bruce F. Vento, a 12-term Congressman from Minnesota who was a committed environmentalist and a champion of legislation for America's parks. Recent recipients have included: Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). The Vento Award is presented annually at a reception in Washington, D.C. All proceeds from the event benefit NPT's land conservation and youth education programs.