Save the Sound Presented Empire Award By New York State Senator Shelley Mayer
New York State Senator Shelley Mayer (second from right) presents the Empire Award to Save the Sound president Leah Lopez Schmalz (center) while Save the Sound staffers (left to right) Denise Stranko, Katie Friedman, and Ameera Khan look on.
Save the Sound president Leah Lopez Schmalz accepted a New York State Empire Award from State Senator Shelley Mayer (SD 37) on Wednesday afternoon, December 14 at the Larchmont office. The award acknowledged Save the Sound as a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the land, air, and water of Long Island Sound and the Sound shores of New York State and Connecticut for future generations through a combination of legal and scientific expertise.
This Honor was presented to organizations that “make outstanding contributions to the growth, prosperity, and betterment of their community and New York State.”
“I wanted to acknowledge the work you have done, the leadership you have shown, the commitment to our community, broadly defined; I’m happy to see you’re in the Bronx and you’re in Connecticut, you’re all over,” said Mayer. “If it weren’t for you, I really don’t know who would be doing this work.”
“I am honored, of course, to accept this award on behalf of the whole Save the Sound crew,” Schmalz said to Mayer during the presentation. “Save the Sound has been around for 50 years, working to restore and protect all of Long Island Sound and its watershed. We do it not only for the ecological health of the waters and the critters but for the millions of people that are living in our region. Those are people who deserve clean beaches when they go on a hot summer day; people who deserve clean rivers when they go fishing during the spring; people who use the Sound for economic reasons, for gainful employment, marine trades; and people who use it for sustenance, fishing to feed their families. With all of that connecting people to the Sound, it really shows us how important deep partnerships are. Senator, you and your staff have been core sponsors and supporters of everything that Save the Sound does.”
Schmalz was joined at the ceremony by Denise Stranko, vice president of programs; Katie Friedman, New York ecological restoration program manager; and Ameera Khan, environmental technician.