2020 Pioneer Awardees

2020 African-American Environmental Pioneer Awardees

Nearby Nature and partners are proud to announce the 2022 African American Environmental Pioneer Awards. It’s our THIRD annual event to honor those in Milwaukee’s African American community working for a better environment. We held an exciting and memorable event to honor the work of these environmental pioneers and were very proud to have Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes deliver the keynote address honoring our awardees.  Brenda Coley, Co-Director of Milwaukee Water Commons provided a Milwaukee Environmental Justice 2022 update and Dr. Sylvia Wilson of Teens Grow Greens presented ideas for future collaboration.

Held on Monday, February 21st 2022, here is the link to the full program: https://youtu.be/Rc6EXQtMYP8 .

Photo of Martina Patterson and Steven Hunter

Nearby Nature’s Martina Patterson was named an environmental Rising Star and Steven Hunter emceed the 2021 event

In February 2020, our first ground breaking event was held to honor those in the Black community working for a better environment and for justice and equity.  If you didn’t attend, you can read about the inaugural 2020 event at this link. This first annual awards ceremony was held at the Wisconsin Black History museum.

Our second annual event in 2021, held virtually, was equally memorable. You can read about the 2021 awards at this link.

This was our third annual event. We gathered at 6:30 pm on Monday, February 21st, 2022 to coincide with Black History Month.  To our honorees, we wrote

“You are a leader in the fight for racial justice, equity and inclusion, and for a clean, healthy environment for all. You have earned this honor.”

Due to Covid-19 protocols we held the event virtually.  Awardees and speakers were invited, optionally, to attend in person at the Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum on 27th and Center.

Awards were presented to eleven individuals. The honorees are:

Pioneer Awards

  • Rick Banks                         Co-Founder, MKE Black
  • Antoine Carter                  Imagine MKE
  • Lamont Smith                   The Nature Conservancy
  • Rafael Smith                      Climate Equity Director, Citizen Action
  • Reverend Michelle Townsend De Lopez Pastor, Cross Lutheran Church

Rising Star Awards

  • Milton L. Byers III            Wild Indigo Coordinator – Milwaukee, Audubon Great Lakes
  • Jalen Greenlee                  Founder of FLORA
  • Detaya Johnson                Urban Agriculturist, Educator
  • Danitra Jones                    Northwest Side CDC
  • Nateya Taylor                    Founder, Naesthetycs LLC, Urban Studies MS Student
  • Danielle Washington       HN-Development, UWM – Public Health grad

Please like us on Facebook or subscribe to our newsletter to get updates.