Announcing the 2022 Inspiring Sustainability Award Winners!


We are excited to finally announce our winners of the Inspiring Sustainability Awards for 2022. Last night we celebrated together at La Crosse Distilling Co. for our first back in-person event since the pandemic. It was a wonderful evening full of connection and appreciation.


The Inspiring Sustainability Award originated from Coulee Partner’s for Sustainability’s Harvest Dinner in 2010. Each year Coulee Partner’s recognized individuals, businesses, organizations and projects that exemplified sustainability in our region.


In 2018, the Sustainability Institute continued this award through the Inspiring Sustainability Awards. To us at the Sustainability Institute, the Inspiring Sustainability Award represents recognition for outstanding leadership in sustainability...leadership that inspires others within our community and beyond. (See past winners)


This year we received 13 nominations from our community all of which were deserving of the award. This is a perfect example of how many wonderful things are happening in our area when it comes to sustainability. Each one of the nominees are working to make a brighter and better place for all to live.


Before we share the winners, we want to thank our community for sharing such amazing sustainability examples and congratulate and celebrate all 2022 nominees!


From these amazing nominations, the Sustainability Institute Executive Board had the difficult task of choosing just one individual and one organizational winner for 2022.


So without further ado, here are the winners of the

2022 Inspiring Sustainability Awards!

We are excited and proud to announce that the individual winner for the 2022 Inspiring Sustainability Awards is….

Cathy Van Maren!


Cathy is someone who has impacted our community with their years of tireless work across many community organizations.

Her work with organizations such as:

· Coulee Region Sierra Club

· Coulee Progressives

· La Crosse Area Transit Advocates

· Solar on La Crosse Schools

· La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility Board

· La Crosse Climate Action Plan Steering Committee and

· Sustainable La Crosse Commission … (just to name a few) has inspired many to get involved with sustainability and more importantly to take action.


Cathy is a source of new ideas and endless drive to advance sustainability in our region. She lives sustainability in her life. She drives an electric car, rides a bicycle or takes a bus to get around town. She also shares her knowledge and experience about purchasing and driving an EV vehicle at the many Ask Me About My EV events that she helps to coordinate.


Cathy’s commitment to sustainability is inspiring. She received more than one public nomination from our community in 2022. Both entries stated that her work, dedication and frankness regarding sustainability and climate change has inspired them to do more and do better. Next, we are happy to recognize our organizational winner for 2022…..the La Crosse Public Library.

The Library is an anchor organization in our community whose ingenuity, persistence and implementation around a wide-range of sustainability programming and services bolster’s our community’s resilience and ability to thrive.


Over the past several years, the Library has organized or hosted climate and sustainability-related events such like Climate Change Conversations, the Resiliency Think Tank, and the current Fall 2022 Driftless Regional Reads focused on climate change in the Driftless area. The Library has also been instrumental in helping solicit public feedback on the City of La Crosse Climate Action Plan.


Importantly, the Library’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond the environmental realm. Their commitment to serving the needs of all people through their creative programming, their provisioning of resources for those in need, and their unflinching work in helping our community explore issues of diversity and inclusion through the 2021 Waking Up White regional read provide our community with a shining example of the social side of sustainability work.



Livi Hackbarth, Programming & Outreach Assistant, and Peter Gorski, accepted the award on behalf of the La Crosse Public Library.


We want to congratulate our winners once again and thank them for the work they do to inspire us to keep on our sustainability journey.


We also want to thank everyone who attended last night's event and the event. We had an amazing time reconnecting with you and enjoyed seeing so many smiling faces. We also loved to see the creativity of those who came in green inspired costumes. Whether you recycled an old costume or repurposed items to make a new one, the fun it added to the event was palpable.


Check out some of great pictures from the event!






69 views