2021 Alison J. Walsh Award for Outstanding Environmental Advocacy
Maria Mack brings the passion, commitment, and knowledge to environmental advocacy that Alison Walsh so embodied, especially in land use planning and policy. While Maria operates the Canterbury Farm in Wakefield, R.I., she is best known for her volunteer efforts as a relentless advocate for land use planning that protects natural spaces and habitats, and fits in with local surroundings to create a strong “sense of place” for the community.
Maria’s volunteer efforts are impressive. As a member of the South Kingstown Planning Board for decades (currently Vice-Chair but also Chair for years), Maria is known in her community as a champion of environmental sound planning. She serves on the American Planning Association (R.I.) Legislative Policy Committee and has chaired the R.I. Statewide Conservation Commission, a non-profit “providing support to the three R.I. Conservation Districts to assist local landowners and municipalities managing their natural resources.”
On environmental issues and advocacy, Maria is a diligent researcher who believes in the importance of sound, scientific data in the shaping of public policy. She is a fierce advocate for siting solar energy projects in a way that protects Rhode Island’s forests and natural resources. She is also a well-respected activist in the protection of freshwater wetlands systems. Maria mobilizes individuals and organizations through information sharing on issues and the sometimes-daunting process of testifying before legislative committees. At the 2019 Land & Water Summit, Maria ran a workshop entitled: “What Were They Thinking? How to Be Heard in Land Use Decisions and Legislation.” She also mentors college students in environmental planning and design.
Maria Mack is one of the unsung heroes of Rhode Island’s environmental advocacy community. As someone who volunteers her time, energy and passion to so many others, she is more than deserving of the Alison J. Walsh Award