The Worley Award, which was established in 1999, annually honors one or more volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution to WCC and/or its community groups.
In nominating him for this year’s Award, WCC of Mesa County Vice President Karen Sjoberg wrote that “Eric Rechel is a consummate activist and a longtime member/leader with WCC of Mesa County.”
Rechel noted that WCC helps him empower others to work on social and environmental issues that impact us all. “I’m an advocate for those who have no voice: lichen, deer, prairie dogs, and the forest,” he added.
Sjoberg enumerated Rechel’s contributions to the community in the following excerpt from her nominating statement.
“As a biology instructor at Colorado Mesa University, he is an expert on local plants and has been active in promoting new wilderness areas, commenting on BLM and US Forest Service land and travel management plans, and testifying at public hearings.
“Over the years, he has saved Colorado’s endangered Hookless Cactus from pipelines; protected red rock canyon wilderness in Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area; and connected with countless neighbors to develop strong relationships.
“At one time he funded, out of his own pocket, several billboards in Grand Junction promoting environmental causes. He has been a tireless advocate for preservation of wildlife habitat.
“In the fall of 2013, when WCC of Mesa County had lost many Board of Director members with no prospective replacements, Eric stepped up to be elected the new President. He personally recruited others, including me, to join in the work. His commitment to the work of WCC of Mesa County hasn’t let up, despite personal hard times and health challenges in the past year. He has a wonderful working relationship with staff, board and membership. He is steady and strong.
“Eric is also very active in the larger Grand Junction community, supporting many social justice and environmental causes. He founded and serves as Chair for Desert Ecological Analysis and Restoration, has been the driving force of the local Sierra Club chapter for nearly 20 years, and sits on the board of Grand Valley Peace and Justice.
“Eric once ran for the office of county commissioner against two prominent Republicans to bring otherwise important and ignored issues into the discussion.
“Eric deserves our thanks for his work over the years and there are many who would agree that this is his time to receive the Worley Award!”