A legend in life spurs measures for conservation


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Rodney Smith is awarded an inaugural Charlie Corbeil Conservation Award in April 2014 by event emcee Vince Lamb of Preserve Brevard.

Photo by Mike Gaffey

Nominations are being accepted for Viera Voice's fourth annual Charlie Corbeil Conservation Awards. The event dinner will be held April 14, 2017 at the Heritage Isle Clubhouse Ballroom in west Viera, within sight of the Viera Wetlands flora and fauna Corbeil loved. 

The awards dinner and the past recipients honored have become high profile in light of concerns for the health of the Indian River Lagoon. The Tuesday, Nov. 8 election includes the option of a half-cent sales tax increase that will be spent on measures to improve lagoon health, and overseen by local conservation leaders. 

“We started the awards dinner to keep the memory of Charlie bright, but more than that, to keep forwarding his mission to love and steward nature, by encouraging and rewarding others who do so,” said Vince Lamb, emcee of The Charlies — as they are affectionately known in conservation circles — and Charlie Award recipient. 

Lamb, co-founder of the nonprofit Preserve Brevard, a presenting sponsor of The Charlies, teamed up with fellow Charlie recipient Rodney Smith, founder of Anglers for Conservation, to promote passage of the Nov. 8 measure. 

“Charlie loved the Viera Wetlands, but he was active with conservation in Brevard from the St. Johns River to the beaches and beyond, including of course the Indian River Lagoon, and well known for nature photography trips all over the world,” Smith said. 

“It's not surprising that this event and those associated with it are taking practical measures to make a difference.” 

Charlie Award recipient Marcia Booth, founder of Recycle Brevard, also known as 3Rs and Beyond, is leading the charge to reject Amendment 1 on Nov. 8. It appears on its face to promote solar energy use, but in fact is punitive to homeowners who install solar panels and benefits the utility companies who sponsored the measure. 

“In conservation, it's not just about awareness, but becoming educated and knowing what is going on behind the scenes so we don't get tricked into legislation that doesn't do what's promised,” Booth said. 

“I think Charlie would be proud of what we continue to do with the gift of his life.” VV

To submit a nomination for a Charlie Award, go to thecharlieawards.org/contact-us.html or call Lamb at 321-258-5168.