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Honeywell Honored at Brownfield Briefing Awards

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Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps

To learn more about the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps or participate in future activities, please contact Chris Lajewski at montezuma@audubon.org or call 315-365-3588.

Honeywell Receives Audubon New York’s Highest Award for Conserving and Restoring Natural Ecosystems

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.”

“Honeywell made a corporate commitment to the ecosystem of Central New York with the restoration of Onondaga Lake, a vital natural resource and Audubon Important Bird Area. Thanks to ongoing restoration, and with the completion of dredging a year early, birds and other wildlife are once again thriving along its shores and watershed,” said Audubon New York Executive Director Erin Crotty, shown above (left) presenting the Thomas W. Keesee Jr. Conservation Award to Honeywell Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kate Adams.

Left (left to right): Audubon New York Board Chair Virginia (Gini) Stowe, Honeywell Syracuse Program Director John McAuliffe, Crotty, and Adams.

Right: A great blue heron looks for food in the restored Geddes Brook wetland.

 

To view a video about the Keesee Award and the cleanup, click here.

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 partners including Anchor QEA, de maximis, Infrastructure Alternatives, OBG, Parsons, Sevenson Environmental Services, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), Syracuse University, and Upstate Freshwater Institute were recognized.

Anchor QEA Partner and Principal Engineer Kevin Russell, OBG CEO Jim Fox, Parsons Program Manager Paul Blue, former SUNY-ESF President Cornelius (Neil) B. Murphy Jr., and SUNY-ESF Professors Neil Ringler, Ph.D., and Donald Leopold, Ph.D., are pictured above with other members of the Onondaga Lake cleanup team.

 

Former New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens (pictured above left), National Audubon Society President and CEO David Yarnold, (pictured above on far right), and several Audubon New York board members attended the event.

“What do we do when we follow birds to our work, what do we end up with? Clean water, less pollution, healthy ecosystems, and a greater quality of life,” said Yarnold. “Where birds thrive, people prosper.”

 

“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.

Left: Honeywell completed the restoration of the Geddes Brook wetlands in 2012; 50,000 native trees, plants, and shrubs were planted in 17 acres.

Right: Bald Eagles annually congregate at Onondaga Lake’s southern lakeshore during winter months. Photograph by Greg Craybas.

 

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.

The Corps inspires future stewards of Onondaga Lake and its watershed through a hands-on, experience-based program that offers citizens and organizations the opportunity to participate in activities that help restore and sustain the Onondaga Lake watershed and its value as an IBA.

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 montezuma@audubon.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.