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Senator Leahy delivering remarks at Shelburne farms

Honoring Senator Patrick Leahy

VNRC and many of our partner organizations were thrilled to gather last week at Shelburne Farms to honor Senator Patrick Leahy for his unyielding support of Vermont’s environment and communities during his tenure in public service.

Watch the recording here.

A true environmental champion, Senator Leahy has used his time in office to further conservation efforts, support laws to protect the nation’s clean air and water, and bring much needed funding to protecting Lake Champlain — which he memorably had listed as one of the Great Lakes, a short-lived designation (which ruffled some feathers in the midwest) while securing the funding, and elevated what Leahy maintained, at the end of his speech, is “still a great lake!”

With over 400 people in attendance, the evening allowed us to look back on a truly remarkable legacy, and celebrate the work it has taken to keep Vermont the unique mix of forests, working lands, and downtowns we enjoy today.

Banner flags provided the backdrop to the podium, each representing a parcel of land that had been protected, or a law that had been enacted due to the Senator’s efforts. These included the Robert Stafford White Rocks National Recreation Area near Rutland, the Catamount Community Forest in Williston, and the passage of the Vermont Wilderness Act of 2006, among many others.

Speakers included Gaye Symington, Former Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives, who highlighted the Senator’s many achievements; journalist Candace Page, who reminisced on the Senator’s early days in public life as a Chittenden County Prosecutor who put the business community on notice for environmental crimes; and Maggie Gendron, Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and former staff member for Senator Leahy’s Office, who shared the Senator’s own words when credited with a victory, that the work is a “team sport.”

It certainly is a team sport, but as in any team sport, there are opportunities for individuals to stand out. To that end, we’re proud to honor Senator Leahy for his enduring achievements protecting the Vermont we love, and bringing some of Vermont’s homegrown ideas to the national stage. As Senator Leahy said in his remarks, when other states approach questions of wildlife, conservation, and sustainability, “They look to Vermont.”