WV-Based OVEC and SkyTruth to Receive Jean and Leslie Douglas Pearl Award

Contact: Ann Cornell, President, Cornell Douglas Foundation, 301-229-3008
Janet Keating, Executive Director, OVEC, 304-360-4201

WV-Based OVEC and SkyTruth to Receive Second Annual Jean and Leslie Douglas Pearl Award at National Press Club April 14

WASHINGTON, D.C. –— Two West Virginia-based groups will be among those receiving the Cornell Douglas Foundation’s second annual Jean and Leslie Douglas Pearl Awards at a 4 to 6 p.m. ceremony at the National Press Club on April 14.

West Virginia winners of the second annual Jean and Leslie Douglas Pearl Award will be the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC), which is based in Huntington, and SkyTruth, based in Shepherdstown. The other recipients are Tyrone Hayes and Frederica Perera.

Many of OVEC’s staff members, as well as some of the group’s board members and active volunteers, will be in D.C. to receive the award, which recognizes the commitment and dedication of the recipients as they strive to create and maintain a sustainable planet.

Recipients are each given $30,000, along with an original glass sculpture.

“The Jean and Leslie Douglas Pearl Award, named in memory of my parents, is given to organizations and to individuals dedicated to improving the lives of others and to providing a sustainable earth for future generations,” said Ann Cornell, president of the Cornell Douglas Foundation.Despite challenges that often confront the recipients, they are committed to act as catalysts for positive change and determined to promote the rights of individuals to live in a world with clean water, air, and sustainable land.”

“Jean and Leslie Douglas lived each day with integrity, vision, respect for people and the natural world, and boundless love for family,” Cornell said.

“OVEC is truly honored and extremely grateful to the Cornell Douglas Foundation for this prestigious recognition,” said Janet Keating, OVEC’s executive director. “I want to express deep appreciation to OVEC’s committed staff and board members but especially to acknowledge all our incredible volunteers who dedicate so much time and energy to improve the quality of life for all West Virginians. Without their active participation in OVEC, we couldn’t accomplish our goals. They share in all of our successes”

About the Award Winners:

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
For more than a decade in West Virginia, OVEC has been a leader in grassroots organizing aimed at ending coal industry abuses of the land, water, and people, such as the extreme extraction method known as mountaintop removal mining and deadly methods of coal waste disposal. Formed in 1987 to fight a huge toxic waste incinerator planed for an already polluted low-income community, OVEC’s mission is to organize and maintain a diverse grassroots organization dedicated to the improvement and preservation of the environment and communities through education, grassroots organizing, and coalition building.

OVEC values not only our mountain ecosystems, but also the people and culture of the Central Appalachian region and believes everyone has the right to clean air, clean water, and an environment that does not harm people’s health, but enhances the quality of life. OVEC works to make this happen through efforts to develop new leaders, promote civic participation, embrace diversity, amplify the voices of affected residents, and seed/nurture new community groups.

OVEC takes on the most powerful polluters in West Virginia by standing with and supporting efforts of Appalachian communities to protect their air, water, and mountains from being destroyed by extractive industries like coal, gas, and timber.

John Amos, President of SkyTruth, is an expert in the use of satellite images and other remote sensing data to understand and communicate local, regional, and global environmental issues. Educated as a geologist, he spent 10 years applying image processing, image analysis, and digital mapping techniques to conduct environmental, exploration and resource assessment studies for the energy and mining industries and government entities. In 2001, John founded SkyTruth, a non- profit 501©(3) organization dedicated to strengthening environmental conservation by illuminating environmental problems and issues through the use of satellite images, aerial photographs, and other kinds of remote sensing and digital mapping.

Over the 13-year history of SkyTruth, imaging has provided unique, valuable perspectives to the public and decision makers on a broad range of environmental issues, partnering with conservation organizations at the grassroots, national, and international levels. The dedicated staff has produced stunning images that expose the landscape disruption and habitat degradation caused by mining, oil and gas drilling, deforestation, fishing, and other human activities.

SkyTruth creates one of a kind datasets that facilitate nationally significant scientific research on the social and public health and environmental impacts of resource extraction: research that helps shape policy and regulation and push towards a more sustainable future.

Tyrone B. Hayes, Ph.D.
Professor of Integrative Biology, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Endocrinology, Molecular Toxicology, and Energy and Resources Group

Tyrone B. Hayes was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, where he developed his love for biology. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1989 and his Ph.D. from the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993. After completing his Ph.D., he began post-doctoral training at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health and the Cancer Research Laboratories at UC Berkeley (funded by the National Science Foundation), but this training was truncated when he was hired as an assistant professor at UC Berkeley in 1994. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2000 and to full professor in 2003.

Hayes’ research focuses on developmental endocrinology with an emphasis on evolution and environmental regulation of growth and development. For the past 10 years, the role of endocrine disrupting contaminants, particularly pesticides, has been a major focus. Hayes is interested in the impact of chemical contaminants on environmental health and public health, with a specific interest in the role of pesticides in global amphibian declines and environmental justice concerns associated with targeted exposure of racial and ethnic minorities to endocrine disruptors and the role that exposure plays in health care disparities.

Frederica P. Perera, Ph.D.
Perera is a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she serves as director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health. Perera is internationally recognized for pioneering the field of molecular epidemiology, utilizing biomarkers to understand links between environmental exposures and disease. Currently, she and her colleagues are applying advanced molecular and imaging techniques within longitudinal cohort studies of pregnant women and their children, with the goal of identifying preventable risk factors for developmental disorders, asthma, obesity, and cancer in childhood. Her areas of specialization include prevention of environmental risks to children, molecular epidemiology, disease prevention, environment-susceptibility interactions, and risk assessment.  She is the author of over 300 publications, including 270 peer-reviewed articles, and has received numerous honors.

More Information:

Past recipients of the award include Arlene Blum, Ph.D., of the Green Science Policy Institute; the late Theo Colburn, Ph.D., of the Endocrine Disruptor Exchange; and John Peterson Myers, Ph.D., founder, CEO and chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences.

The Cornell Douglas Foundation is a private, non-operating foundation established in 2006. Its mission is to provide small grants to organizations that promote the vision of the foundation: advocating for environmental health and justice, encouraging stewardship of the environment, and furthering respect for sustainability of resources.


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