Senator Susan M. Collins of Maine was awarded National Park Trust’s (NPT) Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award at a reception held yesterday at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Established in 2000, the award honors the legacy of Congressman Bruce F. Vento (MN), a 12-term Member and former Chair of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest, and Public Land. As the Committee Chair, Vento passed more park legislation than any other previous chairman. Each recipient of the Vento Award has expanded the nation’s understanding of what it means to have a lifelong legacy and commitment to protecting America’s heritage.
NPT honored Senator Collins for her outstanding record in land conservation and environmental protection. She is responsible for preserving 10,000 acres of Stowe Mountain and Robinson Peak Lands, spearheading efforts in the Senate to protect air quality and introducing the Carbon Limits and Energy for America's Renewal (CLEAR) Act together with Senator Maria Cantwell. NPT also applauded her work on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies and for her proven track record over the years in establishing bipartisan relationships to achieve important environmental milestones. In addition, Senator Collins has supported forest roads, fish habitats, tax deductions for conservation easements, and discounted national park passes for veterans.
Sue Vento, NPT Board Member, presented the award, “It is clear that Senator Collins wants to live in a world in which we build and sustain strong communities, a world that embraces differences and then works to resolve rather than fuel them, and a world that treasures and preserves its natural resources.” In accepting the award, Senator Collins said, “Making the best idea even better requires a strong public/private partnership, and the National Park Trust is an invaluable partner... I greatly appreciate the Trust for its work to preserve our nation’s history as well as its scenery. “ Insert photo file: Senator with Buddy
Other highlights of the evening included a video tribute to the Senator. Two sixth grade students, Brianna Williams and Wrayzine Willouhby from KIPP DC WILL Academy, a Buddy Bison Partner School in Washington, DC, enchanted attendees with stories of their adventures with Buddy Bison, NPT’s wooly mascot and the cornerstone of the organization’s Youth to Parks programs. The students presented the Senator with a pint-sized Buddy Bison. The Senator acknowledged “what a wonderful job” the students did speaking and was especially enthusiastic about receiving her own Buddy Bison.