Climate Smart Champion Awards

2018 Champions will be announced at Earth Day 2018

The Climate Smart Champion Awards recognize leaders in sustainability throughout the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park who are creating local climate solutions. The 2018 winners will be announced at the Flathead Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 21 at Whitefish School District’s Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship.

Join us at 12:30 at the Whitefish High School Event Center on Saturday, April 21 to honor friends and neighbors who are stepping up to make a difference in our community!

2017 Climate Smart Champions

Business Category:

Climate Smart Entrepreneur of the Year: Alissa LaChance, Dirt Rich Composting of Columbia Falls. Alissa introduced a new business concept to the Flathead by collecting food waste from businesses, schools and families and converting it into rich topsoil for gardens.

Climate Smart Business Champion: ViZn Energy Systems, based in Columbia Falls, for developing a utility-grade energy storage system that uses stable, non-toxic batteries to balance out renewable energy production for times when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

Climate Smart Business Champion: Glacier Guides/Montana Raft Company, based in West Glacier, for sustainable practices and environmental leadership in the hospitality sector.

Youth Category

Climate Smart Youth – Individual: Caroline Dye, a Whitefish 9th grader. Caroline led a successful campaign to implement no-idling zones outside three Whitefish schools to keep kids safe from exhaust emissions. She also works with the Climate Smart Transportation Group to find no-idling solutions for diesel locomotives in the rail yard next to Whitefish Middle School

Climate Smart Youth – Group: Whitefish Middle School Student Council. The student council has led efforts to promote composting and recycling to reduce waste in the schools and has been active in the no-idling campaign.

Individual Leadership Category

Climate Smart Champion:  Diane Yarus, a Kalispell businesswoman. With her husband Bill, Diane owns Airworks, a heating and cooling service. She’s been a leader in local and regional programs to build clean energy systems and promote conservation. She is a Flathead Valley leader in encouraging young girls and women to enter technical fields.

Climate Smart Champion, Honorable Mention: Jeff Arcel, a Whitefish businessman. Through his company Aeon Renewable, Jeff is a pioneer in deploying renewable energy systems for individuals, businesses, and communities in the Flathead, including solar, wind and mini-hydro. He is a member of the Whitefish Climate Action Plan Committee.

Climate Smart Champion, Honorable Mention: Richard Cohen, a Whitefish electrician. He has led countless tours of his climate-smart home that utilizes passive design, renewable energy and energy-efficiency measures. He works with clients to install renewable energy systems and integrate energy-saving measures into new construction and retrofits.