Arizona Forward's 40th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards Celebrates Sustainability in Arizona

PHOENIX, March 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — More than 500 business leaders, elected officials, and their guests gathered on Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in anticipation to hear who the recipients would be for this year’s prestigious Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence awards presented by SRP. A total of 81 projects were finalists.

The biggest winner of the evening was the Coconino County Forest Restoration Initiative. Jay Smith, Coconino County Forest Restoration Director, was present to accept awards for both the President’s Award, the top honor of all project submissions, and the Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future. In 2017, the Coconino County Board of Supervisors identified catastrophic wildfires and post wildfire flooding as the number one public safety risk for the citizens and the environment in Coconino County. As a result, the Coconino County Flood Control District developed a county-wide Forest Restoration Initiative in response to the devastating impacts of catastrophic wildfires and post-wildfire flooding, protecting the forests and economic vitality of northern Arizona, safety of all citizens. The initiative can be a state-wide model of collaborative, forward-thinking policy in action.

“After two years of postponing the event, it was extremely inspiring to see more than 500 guests join us as we celebrated projects submitted during 2020 and 2021. Sustainability and climate change issues did not take a back seat to the pandemic, as the projects honored in the awards program continued to demonstrate environmental excellence at its best,” said Lori Singleton, President and CEO. “Additionally, three special awards were given in recognition of the long-standing history of Arizona Forward.”

A list of all the project nominations and a description summary for each can be found on Projects were reviewed by a panel of 13 judges led by Gene D’Adamo, President and CEO of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

Recipients of the CRESCORDIA AWARD for the remaining categories are listed below. 

COOL PAVEMENT PROGRAM, City of Phoenix – Street Transportation

Climate Action Solutions – Winner

Addressing the urban heat island, a quality-of-life issue in a desert environment, was key to the development of the City of Phoenix’s Cool Pavement Pilot Program. During the summer of 2020, Phoenix completed a project by installing an innovative asphalt seal coat technology that could provide meaningful relief from the urban heat island affect. This technology first tried by the City of Los Angeles, CA, reflects solar energy and reduces the daytime pavement surface temperature. The pilot resulted in 36 miles of Cool Pavement treatment in eight neighborhoods and one city park; all with the potential to improve comfort and livability in Phoenix.

ARIZONA WATER BLUEPRINT, ASU Kyl Center for Water Policy

Environmental Education & Communication – Winner

The Arizona Water Blueprint addresses Arizonans’ need for comprehensible, accurate, non-partisan and detailed information about Arizona water resources and policy, empowering inclusive and informed decision-making about the state’s water future. The heart of the Blueprint is an interactive map comprising 56 discrete data layers. A user can easily explore Arizona’s water resources and infrastructure, download data specific to a particular geography, and visualize how different features and datasets are related. Because it offers unique opportunities to visualize and compare data and geospatial information, the Blueprint is being used in local and statewide planning discussions as well as in high school and university classrooms.


Technology Innovation – Winner

The Innovative Water Conservation and Sustainability Partnership focuses on cost-effective, innovative technology to sustain agriculture and save water. The Partnership uses N-Drip technology – low pressure, gravity-powered micro-irrigation coupled with real-time soil moisture management – applied to Colorado River Indian Tribes farms. N-Drip fields averaged 50% lower water deliveries with the same or slightly higher crop yields as traditional flood irrigated fields, protecting soil health without additional water delivery infrastructure or pumping.


Site Development – Winner

The Roosevelt Dam Feature and the Grand Canal Relocation and Multi-Use Path, each part of The Grand at Papago Park Center mixed-use development, were designed to celebrate and pay homage to two of the most important infrastructure projects in Arizona: the Roosevelt Dam and the Grand Canal. The projects demonstrate an awareness of sustainability and inspires solutions with minimal water use. The Grand at Papago Park Center establishes a model that can be replicated by other communities for improvements along the Valley’s canal system.


Buildings, Structures, and Landscape Design: Civic – Winner
Natural Environment Preservation – Winner

The Fraesfield and Granite Mountain Trailheads, part of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, were disturbed trailhead sites in need of restoration. Two complementary yet contrasting designs highlight the unique characteristics of each respective sites. The trailheads restored the natural habitat while expanding and facilitating access into the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, allowing the natural environment to guide the design of sustainable amenities that provide refuge, shade, and shelter.


Buildings, Structures, and Landscape Design: Commercial or Institutional – Winner

The new campus is a collaborative creative place to promote, discuss, and debate reforms to and the advancement of postsecondary education with the Helios Foundation, their strategic partners and policy makers locally and nationally. Sustainability features include the use of multiple non-potable water sources including site captured water for the landscape and a super insulated envelope & radiant cooling system to reduce energy use. The Campus is a contemporary revisioning of the arid-responsive garden office, built to last for generations.

GOOD TROUBLE BUCKET, Joan Baron and Gloria Martinez-Granados

Art in Public Places – Winner

Inside a 35,000 square foot raw warehouse space built in the 1950’s in downtown Phoenix, AZ, two artists embarked upon a major mixed media art installation-performance piece. The purpose was to bring awareness to issues around immigration reform, social justice, and behaviors that inspire and create lasting change that benefit and sustain life for all.


Healthy Communities – Winner

Throughout history, Native American communities have held a special relationship with the animals, particularly birds and their feathers. Feathers are present in the celebration of birth, the passage to man and womanhood, the healing of the sick and the recognition of death – the cycle of life. Liberty Wildlife is a conservation non-profit, and the only organization permitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to accept, hold, and distribute non-eagle feathers to Native Americans for religious and ceremonial purposes. For every feather sent out, one less feather will be purchased on the black market, and one less bird taken from the wild.

The following project FINALISTS received an AWARD OF DISTINCTION:  

  • CONSERVE AND PROTECT GOLDEN ALE, Mother Road Brewing Company – Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future
  • FLAGSTAFF’S CARBON NEUTRALITY PLAN, City of Flagstaff – Climate Action Solutions
  • AVONDALE DRIVE ELECTRIC PROJECT, City of Avondale – Environmental Education & Communication
  • ROBO RIDE – CITY OF PEORIA AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE PROJECT, City of Peoria – Technology Innovation
  • THE NEWTON DISTRICT, Venue Projects – Site Development
  • ASANTE BRANCH LIBRARY, City of Surprise – Buildings, Structures, and Landscape Design: Civic
  • ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENT PAVILION, Arizona State University – Buildings, Structures, and Landscape Design: Commercial or Institutional
  • ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY HAYDEN LIBRARY REINVENTION, Arizona State University – Buildings, Structures, and Landscape Design: Commercial or Institutional
  • THE CHARLES T. HAYDEN HOUSE (LA CASA VIEJA) REHABILITATION, City of Tempe – Buildings, Structures, and Landscape Design: Historic Preservation & Adaptive Reuse
  • USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL GARDENS AT SALT RIVER, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community – Buildings, Structures, and Landscape Design: Landscape Design
  • PARK CENTRAL, Plaza Companies – Art in Public Places
  • THE PATH TO PROTECTION AT OAK CREEK, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality – Natural Environment Preservation
  • U-HAUL HEALTHIER YOU PROGRAMS, U-Haul International, Inc. – Healthy Communities

In addition to the project winners, three additional awards were given to Kinney Construction Services, Valley Metro, and Cox Communications. These 50th Anniversary Awards, in honor of Arizona Forward’s 50th anniversary year, recognize a long-standing commitment to sustainability and are chosen unbeknownst to the recipients. Representatives from each organization were invited onstage to accept their award

Arizona Forward’s visionary members are APS, City of Phoenix, Environmental Defense Fund, Freeport-McMoRan, Honeywell, Intel, SRP, and Wells Fargo. These members are generous supporters of Arizona Forward’s year-round activities.

Arizona Forward’s top event sponsors for this year’s gala are City of Scottsdale, City of Mesa, Helios Education Foundation, and City of Phoenix – Public Works.

About Arizona Forward
Arizona Forward is the state’s leading sustainability not-for-profit organization that has successfully worked on major environmental initiatives for Arizona since 1969. The organization leverages its collective power by forming solid partnerships with Arizona business leaders, local and state officials, state education leaders and policymakers to drive how the state can best grow its communities, stimulate the economy, and enhance the environment. Arizona Forward has a prominent membership of 150+ public and private sector organizations that serve on issue committees and participate in events throughout the year.

About SRP
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban, and agricultural water users.

Media Contact
Kaileigh Walker
Programs & Communication Specialist
[email protected]

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SOURCE Arizona Forward

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