Lynn Henning earns international environmental award 4.21.10

Written by David Green.

The name “Lynn Henning” is not spoken  kindly among many farmers of southeast Michigan. On the other hand, those concerned about the growth of large farming operations hail Henning as a hero.

She’s been verbally threatened, she’s been sued and she’s had her car boxed in by manure tankers in rural roads. Dead animals have been left on her porch and in her mailbox, and she said the combine on her farm near Clayton was once damaged.

Not everyone appreciates the work she’s done in tracking down manure discharges from farming operations, but her work garnered the praise of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.

Henning was one of six citizens from around the world to receive the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize. Other winners this year are from Costa Rica, Cuba, Cambodia, Poland and Swaziland.

The annual award—with its $150,000 prize—is presented to “grassroots environmental heroes” whose efforts to protect natural resources are considered “increasingly critical to the well-being of the planet.”

For more than 10 years Henning has helped document manure discharges that aided state regulators to identify and fine operations for violations of state environmental laws.

She has collected hundreds of water samples and studied satellite photographs and drainage maps to trace pollution. She figures she’s put a million miles on three vehicles as she travels rural roads to document manure applications.

Steven Chester, former director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, told a Detroit Free Press reporter that most farming operations are in compliance with state law, but a few give large farms a bad name.

He praised Henning’s work to keep the issue in the DEQ’s vision and noted her assistance was valuable when the DEQ faced staff reductions.

Henning was honored Monday at a ceremony in San Francisco. A second ceremony is planned in Washington, D.C.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016