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earth day coalition co-founder retires after 23 years with the organization


Steadfast. Tenacious and uncompromising. Someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of the issues at hand.

Those are just a few of the plaudits Earth Day Coalition (EDC) executive director Scott Sanders has for his retiring compatriot, EDC co-executive director Chris Trepal, who will be honored on Friday, Nov. 9 during the organization's Instrumental Evening for the Earth.

Trepal co-founded the nonprofit environmental education/advocacy group with Sanders in 1990. As a devoted environmental advocate, she has played an integral role in the community projects EDC is best known for, Sanders says.
Among Trepal's career highlights:

* Helped establish the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve opened to the public in February 2012. The former Dike 14 has 80-plus acres of "wild" activity, including 300 species of birds that live and migrate on site.

* Spearheaded EDC's NatureHood project, which has restored native plants to 32,500 square feet of neighborhood-maintained vacant land. An additional 16,500 square feet of empty lot on the West Side has been converted into a plant nursery.

* Worked on such clean air issues as Diesel Hot Spots, idle reduction, mercury-fish consumption and Cleveland's proposed waste-to-energy project.

Trepal has a drawer full of awards recognizing her accomplishments, including the Greater Cleveland Woman of Achievement Award from the YWCA of Cleveland. These honors are well-deserved, says Sanders.

"Chris is masterful in terms of her knowledge and approach," says the EDC director. "She's one of the hardest working people I've ever known."

Trepal's executive director position retires with her. Earlier this year, EDC named Elaine Barnes as its development and program director. The organization will also be hiring additional advocacy staff to make up for the experience lost with Trepal's leave-taking.

"Our vision has crystallized in the last year," says Sanders. "We want to strengthen our neighborhood focus as well as continue collaborations with groups like the Metroparks."

Regardless, Trepal's leadership will be missed, notes Sanders. "I learned a lot from her over the years," he says.


Source: Scott Sanders
Writer Douglas Guth
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