Sierra Club California Honors Chapter Director George Watland With Award

  • Posted on 28 October 2019
  • By Sharon Koch

Angeles Chapter Chair Sharon Koch, on behalf of Sierra Club California, presented the Mary Ferguson Award to Senior Chapter Director George Watland at the October meeting of the Angeles Chapter Executive Committee. 

George has served as Senior Chapter Director since April 2014. Prior to his selection as Senior Chapter Director, George was the Chapter’s Conservation Coordinator. His work with the Sierra Club started as a Water Committee volunteer with the Angeles Chapter. 

George has been the heart and soul of the Angeles Chapter. He has led us through difficult times and recognized challenges for the opportunities they presented. Instrumental in bringing us back from the brink of bankruptcy to our robust financial situation today, he has guided our financial team and office management on a steady course. When presented with contentious situations between our many volunteers, office staff, field staff, and others, he has always maintained a calm, judicious demeanor. Confronted with the infiltration of the Chapter by a volunteer actually acting on behalf of an organization intent upon discrediting the Sierra Club, George worked closely with the National staff to minimize the threat. George has worked hard to establish a good working relationship with the field office and other like-minded local organizations. His technical knowledge and computer savvy have helped move the Chapter forward.

His care and concern for the Sierra Club has not been limited to the Angeles Chapter. For the past two years, George has served as a member of the Chapter Director Representatives team. He has represented them on subcommittees involving Chapter finance and unionization of Chapter staff. When forced to close out the previous Angeles Chapter Political Action Committee, George took the lead in establishing a new California Sierra Club Political Action Committee (PAC) representing the chapters in California. He has continued in an administrative role with the PAC.

George has announced his intention to retire at the close of 2019. When the Chapter staff and the Chapter Executive Committee were asked what characteristics they most wanted to see in our next Chapter Director, the universal response was a clone of George. Ethical, calm, judicious, reasonable, creative, and dedicated are all words that try to convey some sense of this absolute treasure. George Watland is a worthy recipient of the Mary Ferguson Award.

MARY FERGUSON AWARD recognizes a paid staff member who has served the Sierra Club in California. Mary Ferguson was on the Angeles Chapter staff from 1970 until she retired in the spring of 1995. During her long career she performed nearly every possible task for the chapter, always with a deep and thoughtful dedication to the Sierra Club's environmental goals.

Recipients: Mary Ferguson, Janie Hawker, Linda Barr, Frannie Hoover, David Nesmith, Barbara Boyle, Kathy Crist, Mark Massara, Mike Paparian, Bill Craven, Bonnie Holmes-Gen, Warren Alford, Bill Magavern, (2004) Marianne Batchelder, (2005) Don Forman, (2006) John Monsen, (2007) Elizabeth Lambe, (2008) Bill Allayaud, (2009) Micah Mitrosky, (2011) Joanne Drabek, (2012) Andrew Christie, (2013) Sarah Matsumoto, (2014) Allen Hernandez, (2015) Kathryn Phillips, (2017) Richard Miller.

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Well deserved! You will be missed. All the best to you and your family. Margee

You have been an amazing Chapter Director and certainly deserve this award. I have always enjoyed working with you and your efforts have made a huge difference for the Sierra Club and the environment.

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