Environmental organization celebrates 43 years in community


The Arc Pavillion hosted the 43rd anniversary dinner and awards gala for the Butte Environmental Council. Photo credit: Natalie Hanson

The Butte Environmental Council’s 43rd Anniversary Gala was held in the ARC Pavillion Saturday.

Within a hour of the event starting, the room was filled and the sounds of soulful alternative folk, thanks to the band Sunday Iris, welcomed members to their tables.

The Butte Environmental Council (BEC) is a non-profit environmental organization centered in Butte County. Since its establishment in 1975, the organization’s mission has been, “to protect and defend the land, air and water of Butte County and the surrounding region through action, advocacy and education.” The yearly gala is held to honor members of the community who have made noteworthy contributions to BEC.

Memorabilia of past members and achievements were displayed near the entrance to the gala. Photo credit: Natalie Hanson
Sunday Iris
The duet Sunday Iris performed for the gala dinner in the Arc Pavillion. Photo credit: Natalie Hanson

“We use this as an opportunity to celebrate what we’ve been doing for the last four decades, but also what’s been done over the past year, and also to recognize the work that other folks have done,” said Natalie Carter, the executive director for BEC.

Move the Junkyard, an organization that removes scrap metal out of the Chico junkyard, was presented with one of the awards.

Furthermore, a new award for the year, named the Skydiving Dave Matthews Environmentalist award, was posthumously given to Dave Fletcher Matthews.

“He left a a sizable request to our organization,” Carter said. “Dave left some money that’s helping us continue our fight for the local environment.”

Bob Mulholland, a local activist, received The Lifetime Achievement award for 2018.

Rebecca Holden signs her name for items in the silent auction at the Butte Environmental Council’s 43rd gala and dinner.

Carter explained that among the many contributions being celebrated at the gala, the BEC also wanted to recognize recent community events.

“There were record-breaking volunteer numbers in the last cleanup activity,” Carter said.

A reference to the trash cleanup event that occurred last month at a local park.

“We collected 17 tons of trash, (and had) 547 volunteers,” Carter said.

Those who were given awards by the BEC on Saturday for the past year’s achievements included local Bob Mulholland. Photo credit: Natalie Hanson

Chico Natural Foods catered the dinner, while Recology, a company which collects and processes municipal solid waste, helped sponsor.

“The Butte Environmental Council has been defending our local air, land and water for more than 40 years, educating our neighbors about the most pressing environmental issues in our region, protecting and restoring the waterways and woodlands in our urban forest, and giving a voice to our local environmental policy and planning discussions,” Carter said…”We (were) here tonight to celebrate that work.”

Natalie Hanson can be reached at [email protected] or @NatalieH_Orion on Twitter.