Award Recognizes Honeywell as “A Leader in One of the Most Ambitious Environmental Reclamation Projects in the United States” – the Cleanup and Restoration of Onondaga Lake
Audubon New York awarded Honeywell the 2015 Thomas W. Keesee Jr. Conservation Award for its leadership on the cleanup and restoration of Onondaga Lake. Kate Adams, Honeywell Senior Vice President and General Counsel, accepted the award at Audubon New York’s fall benefit in New York City on November 4. Presented annually, the award honors those in New York State who have shown remarkable leadership and commitment “to Audubon’s mission to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.”
Audubon New York honored Honeywell as “a leader in one of the most ambitious environmental reclamation projects in the United States,” and for its work with partners, including Audubon, “to return Onondaga Lake to the community as a healthy, sustainable asset for future generations.”
During the awards ceremony, Adams said, “In Syracuse, we found the talent, creativity, and passion that makes Central New York such a unique and special place.”
“Honeywell is honored to accept the Thomas W. Keesee Jr. Conservation Award from one of the nation’s leading conservation organizations on behalf of our partners and all of Central New York,” said Adams. “The rebirth of Onondaga Lake, one of Central New York’s most valuable resources, is driven by the vision and spirit of the community and an incredible team of scientists, engineers, individuals, and conservation groups, including Audubon. Water quality is the best it has been in 100 years, and there is a renewed community enthusiasm to use and enjoy the lake.”
The Onondaga Lake cleanup is the result of more than two decades and millions of hours of intensive effort under the supervision of state and federal regulatory agencies, and in cooperation with local elected officials and the community. In November 2014, Honeywell completed lake dredging, a year ahead of schedule. Capping and habitat restoration are scheduled to be finished in 2016.
Honeywell is planting about 1.1 million plants, shrubs, and trees. To date, 50 acres of wetlands have been restored and more than 166 species of birds, fish, and other wildlife have returned to restored habitat near the lake. More than 80 unique bird species have been identified in and around Onondaga Lake, which is classified as an Audubon Important Bird Area (IBA), including several rare species categorized as threatened or of special interest in New York State. Pied-Billed Grebe, Northern Harrier, and Bald Eagle are among the notable bird species that have returned.
Montezuma Audubon Center, Onondaga Audubon Society, and Honeywell have worked in partnership since 2007 when Montezuma Audubon Center provided feedback for the restoration of LCP wetlands, and joined the Habitat Working Group. The partnership continued when they jointly adopted Onondaga Lake as an IBA in 2008, which marked the first time a company in New York State co-adopted an IBA with an Audubon organization.
Following the adoption of the IBA, the three organizations announced the development of the Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education, a professional development program for Onondaga County middle school science teachers. The program evolved into the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps, which was founded in 2012.
More than 600 volunteers have become environmental stewards who have planted thousands of trees, shrubs, and native plants, and participated in citizen science monitoring. In April 2015, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the Corps with its 2015 Environmental Champion Award. To learn more about the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps or to participate in future activities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315-365-3588. Schools, community groups, local organizations, and individuals are welcome. Like the Corps on Facebook or visit YouTube to learn more.
For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, please visit www.lakecleanup.com.