Susie Stephens
Rachelle Weymuller (top) and Val Stouffer (bottom) our 2017 Susie Stephens
award winners

Methow Conservancy’s Annual Conservation Awards

Each year we present several awards to recognize the work of dedicated volunteers for conservation in the valley.

Susie Stephens Award - For those who carry on Susie’s endless energy for helping others and her strong belief that education about conservation can make a difference. 

    Background: Susie served with an open heart and a joyful smile as the Development Director at the Methow Conservancy until a tragic accident took her life in 2002. Susie’s enthusiasm for life and for reaching out to people to inspire conservation are legacies that continue in our work.

    Criteria for Award Nominees:  Individuals who have provided outstanding volunteer service to the Methow Conservancy’s efforts.

    Current & Past Winners:
    • 2017 - Rachelle Weymuller & Val Stouffer
    • 2016 - Wendy Sims
    • 2015 - Kirsten Cook
    • 2014 - Jan Sodt
    • 2013 - Deb Dahrling & Rose O'Donnell
    • 2012 - Becky & Aaron Studen of the Twisp River Pub
    • 2011 - Sue Roberts
    • 2010 - Chris Hartwig
    • 2009 - Carole and Brian Reid
    • 2008 - Laurelle Walsh
    • 2007 - Dotti and Bob Wilson
    • 2006 - Joyce Bergen
    • 2005 - Suzanne Follis


    2017 Award Winners - Rachelle Weymuller & Val Stouffer
    Rachelle Weymuller and Val Stouffer share this year’s Susie Stephens Award for their exceptional volunteer service to the Methow Conservancy’s Methow Grown project.  Over the summer and fall, Val and Rachelle contributed just shy of 100 combined volunteer hours, helping create the Conservancy’s ongoing series of “virtual farm tours” (  They gathered the visual and audio content, and brought their unique skills to the project.  Val conducted the farmer interviews, employing her many years of experience in radio and her knack for pulling the thread of a compelling story.  Rachelle lent her photographic eye, capturing the beauty and distinct character of each farm.  This award has been given annually for 13 years in memory of Susie Stephens who served as the Methow Conservancy’s Development Director in the early 2000s.  The award recognizes individuals who carry on Susie’s endless energy for helping others, and her strong belief that education about conservation can make a difference. 


Ken White

Ken White Award - For those who carry on Ken White’s love for the Methow Valley.

    Background:  Known by many as the Methow’s Naturalist, Ken was a self-taught conservationist who shared his deep passion for appreciating this beautiful valley with all who were interested.

    Criteria for Award Nominees:  Individuals or organizations with a long-standing history of inspiring conservation efforts in the Methow Valley.  These efforts may be in conjunction with the work of the Methow Conservancy or as separate projects. 

    Current & Past Winners:
    • 2017 - Dawn Woodruff
    • 2016 - Maggie Coon
    • 2015 - Classroom in Bloom
    • 2014 - Rob Crandall
    • 2013 - Jane Gilbertsen
    • 2012 - Vicky Welch and John Hayes
    • 2011 - Denny O'Callaghan
    • Dawn Woodruff , our 2017 Ken White
      award winner

      2010 - Kent Woodruff
    • 2009 - Roxie and Carl Miller
    • 2008 - Dave Sabold
    • 2007 - Katharine Bill
    • 2006 - Ron Judd
    • 2005 - John Sunderland

    2017 Award Winner – Dawn Woodruff
    Dawn Woodruff was named this year’s Ken White Award winner.  The award recognizes individuals or organizations with a long-standing history of inspiring conservation efforts in the Methow Valley. Ken White, long- known as the Methow’s naturalist shared his deep passion for appreciating this special Valley with anyone interested.  The Methow Conservancy recognizes Dawn’s 18 year commitment to conservation in the Methow Valley as the longest tenured employee of the Methow Conservancy.  Dawn will retire from the Methow Conservancy at the end of 2017, but continue her work as the Twisp librarian. In 1999, Dawn was hired as the Methow Conservancy’s GIS Technician.  That job title does little to capture the unique mix of technology and land stewardship skills that Dawn has brought to her work over nearly two decades.  Dawn has played a critical role in the development of 106 conservation easements developed in partnership with willing private landowners in the Methow Valley.  Dawn’s will be remembered at the Methow Conservancy for her attention to detail, her willingness to do whatever task needed to be done, and her passion for doing things right the first time.  Her institutional memory, and her sincere care for the land and the landowners we work with will be missed.  “You don’t replace an employee like Dawn,” said Executive Director Jason Paulsen, “you instead seek to build upon the incredible foundation she has played such an important role in building here.  This organization owes much of its success to the role that Dawn has played as the “glue” in our office over 18 years and under four Executive Directors.”  

Neil & Kelli Rotstan (with Emelia),
our 2017 You Inspire Us award winners.

You Inspire Us Award

    Background: The award title is a play on the Methow Conservancy’s mission statement to inspire people to care for the land.  Award winners are recognized for reminding the organization about what it means to inspire others to care for the land.  We first awarded this in 2014.

    Current & Past Winners:
    • 2017 - Kelli and Neil Rotstan
    • 2016 - Fernne Rosenblatt
    • 2015 - Carlene Anders
    • 2014 - Steve Taylor

    2017 Award Winners – Kelli and Neil Rotstan
    Kelli and Neil Rotstan were honored with the You Inspire Us Award for their commitment to creating and sustaining the Volunteer Methow website (  Early in 2017, after learning that many people in the community wanted to be more involved, but lacked a central place to find out about nonprofits and their volunteer opportunities, Kelli and Neil jumped in to create a one-stop shop website to connect people to causes they care about.  Volunteering hundreds of hours of their own technological expertise to launch the website, train and meet with organizations, and keep it all running smoothly, they have helped inspire more than 1,700 volunteer hours since late April through the Volunteer Methow website.  As they say on the website, “Volunteer Methow aims to pull us all together into a vibrant community of people whose differences serve to highlight our shared experience and values. We provide regular opportunities to work side by side, on equal terms, doing good on a shared cause. We believe these types of opportunities provide us the chance to genuinely get to know each other as people, and turn acquaintances into neighbors and neighbors into friends.”  The Methow Conservancy initiated the You Inspire Us Award in 2014 to recognize people or organizations who have been inspirational to the staff and Board of the Conservancy organization, and who have, through their good work, inspired action and positive change in the whole community.  Methow Conservancy Associate Director Sarah Brooks notes, “Kelli and Neil have created so much more than a website – they are building a volunteer movement.”

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