Alliance for the Chesapeake will present Top 2015 Environmental Leadership Awards at “Taste of the Chesapeake” on September 15

(Annapolis, MD – August 2015) – Every year the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay honors those who have made a difference in Chesapeake Bay restoration. This year, the Alliance will recognize five outstanding Chesapeake environmental leaders at its annual gala, The Taste of the Chesapeake.

[imageframe align=”right” class=” acb-img-frame” ] The Alliance’s top honor, theEnvironmental Leadership Award, will be presented to William “BMAT” Matuszeski. This award recognizes a person whose long-standing commitment to the Chesapeake Bay, reflects the Alliance’s mission to lead, inspire and support partnerships that build local environmental stewardship to restore and protect the lands, rivers and streams of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.

Known as “BMAT” to his friends and colleagues, Bill Matuszeski has a legacy of creative and ambitious leadership including his 10 years as the Director of the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP). As the longest-serving CBP director, he aggressively advocated setting quantifiable goals for which the public could hold government accountable and for increasing individual involvement. Before the CBP, Bill served as Executive Director of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, Head of Coastal Zone Management, and Deputy of the National Ocean Service.

Since his retirement in 2001, Matuszeski has been a passionate and tireless volunteer. He is now Vice-Chair for DC of the Anacostia Watershed Citizens Advisory Committee, on the Board of the Hudson River Foundation and is a Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Environmental Committee of the Friends of the National Arboretum and. He has championed restoration of Hickey Run, a highly degraded urban stream in the District, which flows through the Arboretum.

Alliance Director Al Todd shared, “People like Bill are very rare. His creative thinking, his thoughtful and often unique insights, and his passion for action and working with others have helped to challenge the status quo of Bay restoration…all the while serving as a dedicated mentor, friend, and leader.”

Bill acknowledged, “Those who work to protect and restore the Chesapeake are a special breed of tough, dedicated souls who are in it for the long haul.  I am honored to be among them and to count many of them as friends.  They all deserve to share in this award.”

The Alliance will also honor Kelly Gutshall, Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, Reverend Johnny R. Calhoun and J. Michael Foreman as our 2015 Watershed Champions.[imageframe class=” acb-img-frame” ] Kelly Gutshall is a landscape architect and owner and president of LandStudies, Inc., the firm she built with husband Mark in Lititz, Pennsylvania. She has designed and implemented numerous award-winning projects and is known for her creative designs and cutting edge approaches in sustainable site planning, stormwater management, and developments that maximize watershed protection. She is also recognized for sharing her passion, knowledge and experience with others and for the collaborative spirit she brings to work with communities, local governments and non-profits.

Alliance Director Al Todd shared, “Kelly, and the firm she and her husband Mark have built,  demonstrate that you can merge planning for development and environmental restoration. She also is a strong advocate and educator in the principles of environmental site design. We need more like her to succeed in restoring our watershed.”

Gutshall acknowledged, “Each of us has a responsibility, an obligation really, to improve the environment. It takes all of us — businesses, government and individual citizens — working together to improve the environment for future generations. That’s really what LandStudies is about. We develop solutions and pull together the right entities to improve the health of our land and waterways, and we do it in ways that are practical and benefit businesses and the environment.”[imageframe align=”right” class=” acb-img-frame” ] Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin and Reverend Johnny R. Calhoun will be honored as key Alliance partners in engaging houses of worship in the work of Bay watershed restoration.

Rabbi Cardin from Baltimore will be recognized for her long partnership with the Alliance in forming the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC). IPC is devoted to educating, supporting and motivating communities of faith to care for the Earth and all its habitants. As IPC Chair, Rabbi Cardin has been an inspirational leader and supported partnership efforts such as the Alliance’s Trees for Sacred Places and River Wise Congregations. She is the founder of the Baltimore Orchard Project, environmental advisor to the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council and Jewish Community Federation and organizer of the Sova Project, calling attention to faith-based economic justice.

Alliance Director Al Todd shared, “I never cease to learn something from Nina Beth. Simply put, her views on people and our place in the environment are a source of wisdom and inspiration.”

Rabbi Cardin acknowledged, “Working with the Alliance has been a joy. It has helped IPC bring expertise, ideas, awareness and trees to many area congregations that are seeking to build communities that lovingly, beautifully and effectively care for and protect this precious, sacred earth that is our shared inheritance.”

[imageframe class=” acb-img-frame” ] Since 1999, Reverend Johnny R. Calhoun has led the Mount Olive AME Church in Annapolis, MD where he has expanded outreach and establishing a Life Center that includes community space, an entrepreneurial institute, small business incubator, Community College Campus. For Reverend Calhoun, the environment is also intimately connected to the social fabric of his church community. Under his leadership, and through partnership work with the Alliance, his BLACK is the New GREEN Initiative was born. Through this initiative African American Churches install watershed projects on their property and congregants become certified as Master Watershed Stewards. Reverend Calhoun has passionately recruited other churches to join him in this commitment to environmental stewardship.

Alliance Director Al Todd shared, “Johnny Calhoun has a passion and drive that is infectious. From the beginning, he has understood the potential in our working together partnership for both the environment and the community.”

[imageframe align=”right” class=” acb-img-frame” ] The Alliance will recognize J. Michael Foreman as a Watershed Champion not only for his direct contributions to protect the Bay developing new and innovative programs during his long career with the Virginia Departments of Forestry and Conservation and Recreation, where he currently leads Environmental Education efforts; but also for his commitment to helping create other environmental champions.

Alliance Director Al Todd notes, “Mike has been a strong and steady but unsung hero in Virginia and his work and mentorship have inspired many new young leaders in the work of conservation.” An instructor and leader for over 15 years for the VA Natural Resources Leadership Institute (VNRLI) teaching concepts of leadership, collaborative decision-making, consensus-building, and natural resource issues such as the Chesapeake Bay, Mike is well known to graduates for his devotion to practicing the “servant leadership” principles that are core VNRLI’s values. True to his nature, Mike shared, “I am deeply grateful to the Alliance for this recognition although it is always a team or group effort when we make environmental progress. The idea of serving each other and our natural world is a great blessing to me professionally and personally.”

The Alliance will present the awards at the Taste on Tuesday, September 15 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Rooftop Conference Center of the Belcher Pavilion of the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Maryland.  For tickets, call the Alliance at 443-949-0575 or visit: