Heroes for the wild

  Know someone who’s worked tirelessly to protect the West’s wild places? Nominate him or her for a "Wilderness Hero" award. The program, which began last year, will honor two volunteers each month leading up to the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act this September. Award sponsors include The Campaign for America’s Wilderness, the Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and other grassroots conservation groups.

So far, the award’s recipients have been a diverse bunch, including a former ranger, a Montana millworker and the students of a Seattle elementary school. But they have one thing in common — fierce devotion to their cause, whether it’s closing outdated loopholes in a mining law, saving Montana’s Yaak Valley for grizzlies, or designating more wilderness in Washington state.

The November 2003 winner, for example, is Katie Kleinick, a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who volunteers with Friends of Nevada Wilderness, organizing events, writing letters and recruiting other volunteers. She also plans to take students and community members out in the wild to see the places they’re trying to save.

For more information or to nominate a wilderness hero in your community, see www.wildernessforever.org/heroes/.