Environment America annually awards one of our fellows the Stone and Holt Weeks Recruiting Award. This award is given in honor of the work of Stone Weeks and in memory of Stone and his brother Holt – activists who wanted to make the world a better place and had already started down that path at a young age when they were killed by a tragic highway crash in 2009. Stone was 24 years old and Holt was 20 years old. Through this award, we recognize the Environment America fellow who has done the best work finding and recruiting more energetic young people like themselves, and like Stone and Holt, to do this work. The award is generously funded by The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation of Washington D.C. The foundation exists to honor the memories and spirits of the two brothers.  

We're pleased to announce the winner of our 2013 Stone and Holt Weeks Recruiting Award: Liz Kazal, field associate with Environment North Carolina.

About Stone and his brother Holt: After graduating from The University of Delaware, Stone Weeks worked for two years as Professor Douglas Brinkley’s assistant at Rice University and the James A Baker III Institute of Public Policy. Stone’s research and writing assistance for Professor Brinkley, and the coverage this research garnered, helped secure a critical victory: the saving of the awe-inspiring Christmas Mountains, at the northwest corner of Big Bend National Park, from development. It is here that Stone connected with Environment Texas, where Director Luke Metzger and his staff were working to generate a public outcry in support of the Christmas Mountains. Stone’s research on historic environmental issues contributed to Professor Brinkley’s book, The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

As a rising college junior, Holt Weeks worked with the Baker Institute, too. As a research intern, he looked at how the personal technological devices we all use could be built with fewer precious resources. Holt’s research was used as the foundation for a graduate level course at Rice. And now, the ideas he explored are making their way around the world. Their parents, Jan and Linton, established the Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation, which sponsors events that raise money, awareness and volunteers for good causes, and makes grants to organizations to which the brothers were committed.

We annually honor these young men by recognizing an Environment America fellow who does exceptional work finding and recruiting more energetic young people like themselves, and like Stone and Holt, to do this work. The Foundation is providing $1,000 per year to further the work of Environment America in the name of the annual award recipient.

Liz is receiving the 2013 Stone and Holt Weeks recruiting award because of her excellent work recruiting and developing interns, and recruiting fellows from the community of deep south activists out of which she comes. 

And about Liz: Liz is originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and is a graduate of the MS School for Math and Science and Mississippi State University. In college, she was the founder of her campus environmental group and worked to pass the first clean energy student initiative on campus.

Since joining Environment North Carolina, Liz has continued to recruit new young people to join the environmental movement and take on leadership. This fall, Liz recruited an old friend and campus activist colleague, Taylor Cook, to come do the work she’s doing and be a fellow. Taylor led a group called the Green Fund at the University of Mississippi, turning the small group into a large, powerful organization on campus, able to stand up to a conservative administration. Taylor will be starting her fellowship with Environment Virginia this August. Liz also recruited an intern named Danny to work with her this fall, who then went back to school in Florida this spring and is interning with Environment Florida and doing great work – he just ran a global warming day of action on his campus that resulted in over 100 petitions to the EPA urging them to move forward with the first ever federal limits on global warming pollution from power plants. Liz’s spring intern Michelle is taking the lead on major pieces of Environment North Carolina’s fracking work (and planning to apply for the fellowship next year; she’s a junior). Just last week she generated 50 calls into North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s office asking him to keep the state’s moratorium in place. This was the first of a now weekly phone bank she’ll run. 

The specific work Liz has done is impressive, but beyond that, Liz brings a level of enthusiasm to her work - and her recruitment in particular - that is infectious. 

Congratulations Liz, and keep up the great work!

And thank you to The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation for their generous support of our work.