Submitted by Wildsight
In honour of her tireless conservation efforts in the Upper Columbia Valley, Golden resident Annette Lutterman received the 2023 Ellen Zimmerman Award in a sunny ceremony at Golden’s Reflection Lake last Saturday, May 13.
This annual award recognizes an individual who contributes in a notable way to environmental conservation and education in the region.
Annette was nominated by multiple people who all praised her countless volunteer efforts in restoring local habitats, improving local air quality, and bringing a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to local conservation issues.
“Annette is so deserving of this award,” said Joan Dolinsky, Ellen Zimmerman Award committee member, at the event. “She’s done so much work; a lot of behind the scenes. She’s very inclusive; she uses science-based information, and she’s able to work with all kinds of people to make real progress on a lot of issues.”
Annette was very touched by the recognition, and had this to say about her work: “There’s nothing more precious to all of us than our beautiful natural world. We have to stand up for it, and work together as much as we can, and appreciate it, and love it, and have fun in it!”
Annette has been involved in many local conservation efforts, including the West Bench ecology project, local forestry and wildfire risk reduction work, water security efforts, clean air and more. She has also been a past board member for both Wildsight Golden and Wildsight Regional.
One of her best known projects over the years has been her beaver ecology work. She has spearheaded research on local beaver populations, becoming a champion in helping us understand the important role beavers play in the ecosystems around the Upper Columbia.
“I’ve totally become known as the local beaver lady; it’s hilarious,” laughs Annette. “They’re very charismatic critters, and really quite interesting.”
Annette has been an outspoken advocate for clean air through her volunteer efforts with the Golden and District Air Quality Committee. Most recently, Annette helped coordinate a roundtable meeting to gather stakeholders together to discuss air quality.
“To me, it’s really important we try to understand each other’s perspectives, and learn as much as we can about the technical challenges, and figure out if we can come up with solutions,” says Annette. “I find as a society, we have a lot of hot air to put into fighting about things and pointing fingers and saying ‘it’s not my fault, it’s their fault’. I really feel strongly that we need to consider our collective responsibility as communities and what we can do to improve our environment together.”
This annual award recognizes an individual who contributes in a notable way to environmental conservation and education in the region. It was made in honour of Ellen Zimmerman, a renowned environmentalist, stalwart champion of the Columbia Wetlands, and trailblazer of advocacy for future generations.