Celebrating Equity, Resiliency, Sustainability, and a Legacy of Environmental Rights

Philadelphia Environmental Leaders Recognized at 52nd Annual Partnership Dinner

On November 17th, PEC hosted the 52nd Environmental Partnership Awards Dinner at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia. The evening was a celebration of environmental leadership and collaboration, and the awards recognized a wide range of projects and people doing innovative environmental work in the Philadelphia region.


John Dernbach, Widener Law Commonwealth

Curtin Winsor Award

In recognition of his decades working on environmental issues including surface coal mining, solid waste, and the status of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment, John Dernbach received the Curtin Winsor Award for lifetime achievement. Among other accomplishments, Prof. Dernbach’s scholarly work directly informed the 2013 Robinson Township ruling, which made Article 1 Section 27 a critical factor in court decisions involving the environment for the first time since its ratification in 1971. 

“He’s not just an academic,” said the amendment’s author, former state representative and state senator Franklin Kury. “He’s an academic who’s used his skills to get results from courts.”

Dernbach is the Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability Director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center at Widener University.


Special Places

POOL creator Victoria Prizzia and FWWIC Director Karen Young with PEC’s Patrick Starr, Carol McCabe, and Davitt Woodwell

This year’s Special Places Award winner is the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center (FWWIC), which since 2003 has been the region’s premier urban environmental education destination. PEC gave special recognition to the Interpretive Center’s POOL exhibition, which explores the theme of water as a shared resource through the history of segregation in public pools.

“Water is one of the few things that connect us all,” FWWIC Executive Director Karen Young said of the inspiration behind POOL. “So why not use water to connect all Philadelphians, connect this region, and try to connect this country?”

The Water Works was also commended for its innovative approach to climate resiliency in the design of both the exhibition and of the facility itself, which weathered the floodwaters of Hurricane Ida with minimal damage thanks to the quick action of staff and the use of water- and impact-resistant materials throughout.

Learn more about POOL in the March 11 episode of PEC’s Pennsylvania Legacies podcast.


Kate McNamara (PIDC) and Davitt Woodwell (PEC)

Industry Innovation/Corporate Sustainability

The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) was recognized with the Industry Innovation/Corporate Sustainability Award for more than twenty years of leadership in redeveloping a former military shipyard into a mixed-use campus with a focus on sustainable development.

85% of the Navy Yard’s buildings are LEED certified and the campus incorporates Green Stormwater Infrastructure and public spaces for recreation and socializing. 

“It’s become a really great public space,” PIDC’s Kate McNamara said, “and the new plan for the next fifteen to twenty years will continue to build out those green spaces and opportunities for the public to enjoy themselves.”