The Great Lakes Protection Fund—the world’s first ecosystem endowment—named three individuals and three organizations as recipients of the 2020 Great Lakes Leadership Award for Communication Excellence. This award celebrates the recipients’ outstanding storytelling efforts— better connecting their audiences to the ecosystem, its challenges, and efforts to solve those challenges.
Peter Annin, director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation, was named as one of the individuals. Annin is a long-time environmental reporter and author of The Great Lakes Water Wars, who says we are leaving the century of oil and entering the century of water.
“I try to keep my eye on the longer ball issues where really important storytelling needs to happen that will change history,” Annin said. “The reason I wrote my book, in part, is a wake-up call so that the citizens and policymakers would truly grasp the significance of these water bodies.”
The Fund created the Leadership Awards to celebrate efforts that accelerate new actions for protecting and improving the Great Lakes for the benefit of the basin’s people and environment. The 2020 awardees consistently make complicated issues accessible and remind us that powerful narratives can inspire action.
Other Winners of the 2020 Great Lakes Leadership Award for Communication Excellence:
• Dan Egan, a reporter for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and author of The New York Times bestseller The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist twice for his coverage of invasive species in the Great Lakes.
• Tom Henry, a reporter for The Toledo Blade, who has covered the Great Lakes full-time longer than anyone else.
• Great Lakes Now, a monthly television program and multi-media news hub elevating stories about how we enjoy, study, restore, and experience the world’s largest supply of surface freshwater.
• Institute for Nonprofit News, which, with its partners, produced Rust to Resilience, a reporting series about the impact of climate change on the Great Lakes and surrounding cities.
• US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for racial justice, innovation, and progress in the management of water, including drinking water, in the Great Lakes region and across the country.
“One of the world’s hardest jobs is telling clear and compelling stories about the environment. These recipients have mastered it. They make the complex clear, help us focus on what is important, and celebrate the victories when they happen,” said David Rankin, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Protection Fund.