Environmental Hero Awards Go to Violet Sage Walker and the Late Tribal Chief Fred Collins | Home & Lifestyle

Posted on May 8, 2022
| 9:00 am

The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) will honor Violet Sage Walker and Fred (Eagle Chief “SLOW”) Collins (Violet’s father, who passed away in 2021) as part of the organization’s annual event: Green & Blue: A Coastal Celebration, on Sunday , June 5.

Walker and Tribal Chief Collins will receive EDC’s Environmental Hero Award, which has previously been presented to other local and national leaders, including Jane Fonda, Yvon Chouinard, Jack Johnson, Jean Michel Cousteau and Jackson Brown.

Walker and Collins are being recognized for their leadership in protecting coastal resources, in part through their nomination of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, of which EDC has long been an active advocate.

In 2015, Walker, Collins and the Northern Chumash Tribal Council put forth the sanctuary nomination to preserve marine and cultural resources along 156 miles of the coast. Last November, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced intent to realize Walker’s and Collin’s dream and begin the design of the sanctuary just 40 days after he passed into spirit.

Walker currently serves as the chairwoman of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council. Her family has long been charged with the protection of natural resources, culture and ancestors of the space we share. Walker continues to carry on the legacy left by her father as a local leader and community member.

Her love for the Central Coast is exemplified in her advocacy and community involvement, and in her many other passions. Her connection to the Chumash land and sea is an important part of her ties to self, community, and her heritage.

Walker represents the past, present and future leadership through a greater understanding of what it means to take care of our place, be good stewards, and create a community.

Collins was an outspoken advocate for a thriving future on the Central Coast and beyond. In his time as chair of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council, he fought tirelessly, demanding respect for the cultural heritage and rights of the Chumash Peoples and environmental justice for all.

He called on those working to protect the earth and the ocean to set their sights higher than achieving sustainability. It’s not enough, he argued, to merely sustain the current situation. Instead, people must strive for thrivability; reverse the loss of habitat, loss of fishing, and pollution created over the last 100 years; and restore the planet to its former thriving state.

Collin’s advocacy also culminated in the protection of Oceano Dunes and the Carrizo Plain, and the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by San Luis Obispo County.

“It is a true honor to recognize Violet and Fred for their lifetime of work dedicated to protecting our coastal resources and cultural heritage,” said Betsy Weber, assistant director of EDC. “Their passion, dedication, and leadership in forwarding the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary designation exemplifies the care and determination they have shown in protecting our region’s coastline.”

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