I found an immediate home with the Society of Environmental Journalists when I first joined in 1997. Since then this international organization has provided colleagues, assignments, training in the craft, and true friends.
At this year’s conference in Chattanooga, I was gabbing my way through the awards ceremony, looking forward to a glass of wine, when I heard SEJ President Don Hopey call my name as the 2013 winner of the David Stolberg Meritorious Service Award. In shock, I stumbled to the stage, mumbled a few words and felt fortunate to stumble off the stage without truly falling down. What an honor!
Here’s what Don said:
“Every year, the Society of Environmental Journalists honors one exceptional member volunteer with the David Stolberg Meritorious Service Award, established in 1998 and named in honor of SEJ founder David Stolberg.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Society of Environmental Journalists, organizing conference tours and panels, implementing the Awards program, writing for SEJournal, serving as mentors, and working on task forces. Without these selfless volunteers, SEJ would be so much less than it is today. We thank them all, but today we honor one in particular.
“This year’s winner got a record number of nominations, from both staff and fellow members. Nominators described our winner as — ‘someone who embodies the SEJ spirit of cooperation among journalists,’ someone who ‘cares very much about helping the next generation of journalists make it out there.’ Another nominator wrote ‘I was fairly new to SEJ at the time we met, and her warmth in our phone conversations immediately made me feel like I had a place in the organization. She encouraged me to attend my first conference, in New Orleans, and over the years since then, I’ve watched her extend the same kind of friendship and support to countless members. I consider her a keystone within the freelance contingent and SEJ as a whole.’ With this sort of thing as her general M.O. it makes perfect sense that our 2013 Stolberg Award winner has made perhaps her biggest contribution as co-leader of the mentor program, helping something like 60 pairs of mentors and mentees find each other and work together.
“The winner of SEJ’s 2013 David Stolberg Meritorious Service Award is Jane Braxton Little!”