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Community members, friends, and family of Andrea Mead Lawrence gathered at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area’s Parallax Restaurant on May 5 to present Genny Smith, a longtime local naturalist, conservationist, and environmental champion, with this year’s Andrea Lawrence Award.
As a guidebook writer, editor, and publisher, Genny has inspired generations of people to explore and tread lightly in the Sierra Nevada. Her early leadership on the Mono Lake Committee Board of Directors helped grow the fledgling membership program that has now sustained nearly 40 years of grassroots protection of Mono Lake. Genny was also instrumental in the effort to stop the construction of the Trans-Sierra Highway through Devils Postpile National Monument. Without her dedication to protecting wilderness, there would likely be a highway from Mammoth Lakes to Fresno, drastically altering the landscape and communities of the Eastern Sierra. Genny embodies the true spirit of the Andrea Lawrence Award, which celebrates passionate engagement in community and the land, and the Committee was honored to celebrate both Genny’s and Andrea’s legacies at this year’s event.
Genny Smith joins a list of award winners that has been steadily growing over the last ten years: 2016—Dan and Leslie Dawson, Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve; 2015—Ted Shade, Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District; 2014—California Department of Fish & Wildlife; 2013—Karen Ferrell-Ingram, founding Board member and former Executive Director of the Eastern Sierra Land Trust; 2012—Bodie Foundation; 2011—Eastern Sierra Audubon; 2008—Mono Lake Committee; 2007—Friends of the Inyo.
Andrea was a visionary environmental leader, two-time Olympic gold medalist, mother of five, 16-year Mono County Supervisor, and Mono Lake Committee board member. Since her passing in 2009, the Mono Lake Committee has hosted the Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner to celebrate her influential life and those who continue to improve and protect the Eastern Sierra through passionate engagement in community and the land.
This fundraiser would not be possible without the generous support of the Lawrence family and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Thank you to our guests, speakers, and to award recipients like Genny Smith for their important work. Proceeds from the event go to the Andrea Lawrence Fund, which encourages collaboration and inspires youth to become environmental leaders.
Top photo by Antonia Chihuahua.