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Nominees sought for CVPS - Zetterstrom award

RUTLAND - Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) is seeking nominations for the second annual CVPS-Zetterstrom award, which is presented annually to one person, business, group or non-profit to honor a significant contribution to Vermont's environment. It will be accompanied by a $2,500 donation to the winner's environmental cause.

The award is named for Meeri Zetterstrom, who inspired the company and countless Vermonters through her dogged efforts to protect and restore Vermont's osprey population.

"Meeri Zetterstrom was a unique Vermonter, filled with extraordinary creativity and determination in her efforts to help ospreys recover from near-extinction in Vermont," CVPS President Bob Young said. "Thanks in large part to her leadership and tenacity, ospreys are now common in Vermont. To honor Meeri's legacy, those traits are among the qualities we will look for in nominees for the award."

Zetterstrom played a central role in the restoration of ospreys at Lake Arrowhead, a CVPS hydro facility that straddles the border of Milton and Georgia, Vt., and Vermont in general. With a bird's-eye view of the lake, Zetterstrom was among the first to notice when ospreys returned to fish Arrowhead's waters after their near extinction, and she was determined to help them.

Zetterstrom's foresight prompted CVPS and the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife to wage an extensive campaign, starting in 1988, to assist the ospreys. Artificial nesting platforms, buffer zones and educational materials were created to provide the birds a fighting chance.

It paid off in 1998, when the first osprey chick in memory hatched and fledged at Lake Arrowhead. In 2005, due in large part to the efforts of Zetterstrom, CVPS and the state, the osprey was removed from Vermont's endangered species list.

CVPS spokesman Steve Costello, a bird-lover inspired by Zetterstrom's fierce defense of ospreys, said her contributions were immeasurable.

"Meeri not only loved these birds, she instilled a love for wildlife in hundreds of Vermonters, speaking directly to them through cable-access television and in dozens of school presentations over a period of years," Costello said. "When I watch ospreys today, I know that Meeri is one of the primary reasons we have that opportunity. They are spectacular birds, and we have Meeri's grit and tenacity to thank for their return."

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