BI honors environmentalists with their own days

  • Friday, April 23, 2021 8:47am
  • Life

Two locals have been honored by the Bainbridge Island City Council with days of their own.

May 17 was proclaimed “Dr. Olaf Ribeiro Day” on Bainbridge Island and his work on behalf of BI’s community forests inspired by his knowledge of the many ecological, cultural, and economic benefits trees and forests provide to the community, the region and humans worldwide, a city document says.

It goes on to say Ribeiro’s appreciation for trees is rooted in science, but it also has aesthetic, historical and spiritual dimensions. In 1991, BI was incorporated as a city and embraced the stewardship principles promoted by Ribeiro and other Islanders. Over the years, his devotion to the protection of trees on BI would put him at odds with development interests, but he continued to be an irrepressible defender of trees and all that remains of the natural environment.

Ribeiro co-founded the Murden Cove Preservation Association, which is dedicated to environmental protection, and was a member of the city’s first Forestry Commission.

For three decades Ribeiro has been a tireless inspiration to citizens and city officials alike, saving and healing trees, and sharing his love and knowledge of trees, and in so doing contributing to the creation of progressive policies and regulations to protect trees and the natural environment, the document concludes.

The council also honored Charles and Linda Schmid.

June 18 will be their “Champions for the Environment Day” on BI, affirming the community’s appreciation for their long and sustained contributions to environmental stewardship and protection of the island’s special character.

They helped create and operate BI’s first volunteer recycling facility and are founding members of the Association of Bainbridge Communities, whose accomplishments included cleanup of the Vincent Road Landfill and recognition of the Wyckoff /Eagle Harbor as a Superfund site. They requested that the Wyckoff creosote plant be cleaned up, and it later was added to the Superfund list.

Charles headed up the advisory committee that drafted the city’s first Shorelines Master Plan; He also served on the advisory committees for the cleanup, purchase and design of Pritchard Park.

For nearly five decades the Schmids have maintained a constant attention to the conduct of city government related to environmental issues, attending and speaking at hundreds of county, city and EPA meetings.

In 2020, Charles received the Governor’s Volunteer Service award for his many contributions to protection of the environment.

Also at the council meeting, April 22 was named “Bainbridge Island Earth Day,” and the month of May “Heritage Tree Month.”

Meanwhile, the council OK’d spending $38,500 more than budgeted for the Sustainable Transporation Plan.

It was explained that COVID-19 caused a three-month delay and then restart. Also, once they got into it the program was expanded. Also adding to the cost was an interactive map that will be of tremendous help in the future in planning.

With the additional money an executive summary and video can be made that will help public outreach so the community can understand what’s going on. Also, the near-term action plan can be modified.

Leslie Schneider, the council laision to the STP committee, said she never imagined at the start of the project how important the interactive map could be. She said layers of data can be added to the map to show things like partners and gap analysis. She said it can show all their information from all their perspectives. And as new things come up they can be added.

“We need to get the most out of it,” she said, adding a demo for the council would be a good idea.

Schneider said many volunteers from various subgroups helped obtain that feet-on-the-ground information that was beyond the scope of what the consultants do.

The motion passed unanimously, although Councilmembers Michael Pollock and Joe Deets were concerned about the adding cost and hoped there wouldn’t be more.

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