Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture
Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture

2012 TRPA Lake Spirit Award Winners

Posted on September 29, 2012
Filed Under Lake Tahoe Community

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency announced the winners of the Lake Spirit Awards honoring “real people making real progress protecting Lake Tahoe” at their second annual Community Appreciation Day event held on September 27 at TRPA’s office.

Four winners (two from the North Shore and two from the South) were honored for going above and beyond the call of duty to protect the beauty and clarity of Lake Tahoe and the Basin environment. “They represent the many unsung heroes tirelessly working to protect this special place,” explained TRPA Executive Director, Joanne Marchetta, in announcing the awards.

This year there were two categories of winners: one for exemplary citizen and one for agency representative/environmental scientist.

Jacquie Chandler was the Lake Spirit Award winner in the citizen category from the North Shore. She was nominated for her tireless work as the volunteer Executive Director of Sustainable Tahoe, and the Tahoe Expo, a Geo-Tourism event designed to link “Prosperity with Lake Clarity.” Her work began with the development of National Geographic’s Geo-Tourism model here at Lake Tahoe which is now promoted by the Sierra Business Council in their Sierra-wide campaign. The Geo-Tourism model links economic development of “adventure tourism services” to ecosystem valuation, with an overall goal of inspiring participants to embrace sustainability practices and stewardship roles in their everyday lives.

John Dayberry was the Lake Spirit Award winner in the citizen category from the South Shore. He was honored for his leadership role in the World Canoe Project, which has been uniting native tribes to work together to educate and revitalize the water culture of peoples around the world. In Tahoe, John began his work with Paddle Fest, a joint effort with the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada. He was honored for inspiring people to connect with Lake Tahoe and become its protectors and stewards.

Heather Segale was the Lake Spirit Award winner in the agency representative/ environmental scientist category from the North Shore. She is the Education and Outreach Director for the University of California, Davis, Tahoe Environmental Research Center, and is described as one of the most dedicated science educators in the Tahoe Basin. Heather exemplifies commitment and service and has made the science of Lake Tahoe interesting, important, understandable and fun for students of all ages. Her programs allow students from schools around the region and two states to learn about the magic of Lake Tahoe and the natural world through hands-on activities. She has introduced thousands of people from around the country and the globe to the wonders of Lake Tahoe and opened the world of science to hundreds of students, many of whom had never before explored nature with a scientific eye.

The final Lake Spirit Award winner in the agency representative/environmental scientist category was Alan Tolhurst, who passed away in July after a long battle with leukemia. Alan was a leader on the El Dorado County Planning Commission for 15 years and was also a long-standing member and chair of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Advisory Planning Commission. He was dedicated to the improvement of both the quality of life and the environment in the Lake Tahoe Basin and was engaged in numerous planning efforts to affect positive change. Alan was posthumously given a Lake Spirit Award for the example he served in life to get involved and to bring rational thought to bear on the well-being of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Alan’s widow, Brigette Dillet, accepted his award.

In welcoming the community, Marchetta said that the purpose of the event was, “to honor all the people in the Tahoe Basin working tirelessly to protect our environment. Because, when it comes to creating environmental gain on the ground, everyone has a role to play,” she said. “We would like to thank you all for your efforts, large and small, at protecting the beauty and clarity of Lake Tahoe.”

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency cooperatively leads the effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region now and in the future. For additional information, call Kristi Boosman at (775) 589-5230 or send an email to

PHOTO: The 2012 Lake Spirit Award winners from left to right: John Dayberry of Paddle Fest and the World Canoe Project, Joanne Marchetta, Executive Director of TRPA, Heather Segale of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center and the University of California, Davis, and Jacquie Chandler of Sustainable Tahoe and the Tahoe Expo.

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