The ASAP Regional Adaptation Leadership Award recognizes that deliberate and proactive adaptation, preparedness, and resilience-building is a change process, a deviation from business as usual, and a courageous act of doing something new and different. The award recognizes and celebrates that at the heart of adaptation innovation and action are individuals who make this change happen — sometimes with very few resources. Earlier this month at the Local Solutions: Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference in Manchester, NH, ASAP presented the RALA to three adaptation leaders from the New England region.

Winner: Sherry Godlewski

Sherry Godlewski embodies the very essence of the Regional Adaptation Leadership Award: She has dedicated 17 years to working for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services’ water, air, waste, and environmental health programs. Sherry is recognized by her colleagues for understanding how to work with people — and how to get things done! She brings stakeholders together, builds communities of understanding, and has launched multiple adaptation networks. Her ability to design, implement, evaluate and improve programs is a testament to her passion of her work, willingness to learn, and dedication to improvement.

A trained environmental communicator and former college instructor, Sherry is committed to providing science-based education and technical assistance to support New Hampshire state agencies and communities’ resilience efforts. To achieve this vision, Sherry has worked to build collaborative networks across the state, including the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (NHCAW), Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup (UVAW), and State Agency Environmental Resilience Group (SERG). Serving as the current Co-Chair to each of these groups, Sherry has helped guide organizational missions and visions, design and deliver educational material, conceptualize and implement project proposals, and inform and coordinate adaptation activities across the state.

Runner-up: Mia Goldwasser Mansfield

As the Program Manager for Climate Ready Boston, Mia led the development of Boston’s first climate resilience plan. The plan developed the city’s first consensus-driven climate projections and vulnerability assessment, and outlines a set of actionable resilience initiatives for the city to pursue. Mia’s vision is to proactively prepare Boston for climate change in a way that improves lives for all the city’s residents, particularly those most vulnerable to climate change. Her vision for the work has helped to ensure that the process included robust community engagement, as well as strong overlap with the 100 Resilient Cities process for building an equitable and resilient city.

Runner-up: Grover Fugate

Grover Fugate, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, has become synonymous with the concept of “coastal community resiliency.” His vision, even before Superstorm Sandy significantly changed or damaged major portions of the state’s southern coastline, has for nearly two decades focused quite closely on the need to start preparing the state’s 21 coastal communities for the impacts of sea level rise and strong storms to come. With the University of Rhode Island, the Coastal Resources Management Council prepared the Rhode Island Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP), the state’s first comprehensive set of
adaptation and resiliency recommendations designed to support state and municipal efforts to meet the bchallenges of climate change.

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