On Tuesday, the Heinz Family Foundation announced the winners of this year’s Heinz Awards with a special focus on environmental advocacy. For the fifteenth anniversary of the awards, given in memory of the late Senator John Heinz, the foundation is honoring the senator’s long-standing commitment to the environment. Winners include Robert Berkebile, FAIA, sustainable designer and planner, and Ashok Gadgil, Ph.D., a professor and leader in climate science.

Heinz Awards Highlight Environmental Leaders
Photo © Jonathan Greene/Heinz Awards
Robert Berkebile is one of ten winners of the 2009 Heinz Awards, which focus singularly on the environment this year.

“These awards honor those guardians of our future who value our natural resources, work to remove toxic chemicals from our air and water, and create policies and the new technology that will ensure a sustainable planet for generations to come,” said Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation.

Berkebile is a green building advocate who has worked for years to promote responsible environmental design practice. He was a founding chairman of the American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). He remains a proponent of sustainable building, with projects ranging from the Greening of the White House to restorative sites along the Mississippi River (including New Orleans.)

Gadgil is a professor and researcher who is committed to reducing health risks while improving energy efficiency and the quality of life in developing countries. Dr. Gadgil has several inventions and patents to his credit, including a water purification system, and works to study airflow and pollutant transport in buildings at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Previously, five awards were given in the categories of Arts and Humanities, Environment, Human Condition, Public Policy and Technology, the Economy and Employment.

This year’s awards honor 10 environmentally-conscious individuals including Christopher B. Field, Ph.D., for his work on climate change, and Kirk R. Smith, Ph.D., for his research on household air pollution. Other winners are P. Dee Boersma, Ph.D., Chip Giller, Deborah Rice, Ph.D., Joel Salatin, Thomas Smith, and Beverly H. Wright, Ph.D. For more information about the winners, go to www.heinzawards.net.