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CVPS announces award named for ‘Grandma Osprey’

RUTLAND, VT – Citing her inspirational story and dedication to Vermont, Central Vermont Public Service has created an annual award named for Meeri Zetterstrom, known to many as “Grandma Osprey.”

The CVPS-Zetterstrom Environmental Award will be presented annually to one person, business, group or non-profit to honor a significant contribution to Vermont’s environment.  It will be accompanied by a $2,500 donation to the winner’s environmental cause.

Zetterstrom inspired the company and countless Vermonters through her dogged efforts to protect and restore Vermont’s osprey population.

“Meeri Zetterstrom exhibited tremendous commitment, perseverance, creativity and determination in her efforts to assist endangered ospreys in Vermont,” CVPS President Bob Young said.  “To honor Meeri’s legacy, those traits in nominees will be considered as well.”

Zetterstrom played a central role in the restoration of ospreys at Lake Arrowhead, a CVPS hydro facility that straddles the border of Milton and Georgia, Vt.  With a bird’s-eye view of the lake and dozens of species that call it home, Zetterstrom was among the first to notice when ospreys returned to fish Arrowhead’s waters after their near extinction, and she quickly became determined to help them.

Zetterstrom’s foresight prompted CVPS and the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife to wage an extensive campaign, starting in 1988, to assist the ospreys.  Artificial nesting platforms, buffer zones and educational materials were created to provide the birds a fighting chance.

It paid off in 1998, when the first osprey chick in memory hatched and fledged at Lake Arrowhead.  Ospreys have successfully hatched there every year since.  In 2005, due in large part to the efforts of Zetterstrom, CVPS and the state, the osprey was removed from Vermont’s endangered species list.

CVPS spokesman Steve Costello, who encountered Zetterstrom on his first day at the company, said her fierce loyalty to ospreys, instilled in her homeland of Finland, where they were plentiful, was inspirational.

“Meeri’s enthusiasm was contagious, and ospreys became almost as important to me as they were to her,” Costello said.  “Rather than watch the osprey vanish from this state, thanks to Meeri and others, Vermonters can witness some of the most amazing aerobatic performers in the world as they continue to expand their Vermont range and population.”

Nominations for the CVPS-Zetterstrom Environmental Award will be accepted through Feb. 28, and the winner selected by the end of March.  The winner will be chosen by a panel of CVPS employees with responsibilities related to land management, resource protection, community relations and education, and environmental compliance.

Nominations may be made by the nominee or by any other entity, and should demonstrate a commitment of the nominee to benefit Vermont, its land, air or water, wildlife, or the enjoyment of the outdoors by others.  This may be through educational efforts, environmental stewardship, resource rehabilitation, protection or preservation, or conservation.

The award, though it may be presented to a business or larger organization, is also intended to support environmental protection and inspire individuals to benefit Vermont’s environment.  Vermonters of any age may be nominated.  For a nomination application and more information, visit www.cvps.com/osprey.

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