For Immediate Release
May 31, 2007
top environmental honor bestowed on ex-legislator, lifelong activist from
Mary C. Brown earns Milliken Award; CAFO pollution fighter Lynn Henning gets top grassroots award
Tireless, effective advocacy for natural resource protections in
The award will be presented by the Michigan Environmental Council on
behalf of its 75 member organizations June 5 during a gathering at the Arcus
Lynn Henning, a farmer near
Henning has become one of the leading advocates of safeguards for human health and water quality near polluting mega-farms that discharge massive quantities of animal waste.
“These two amazing women are shining examples of how committed, informed
citizens can drive positive change in their communities, their state and their
“Sometimes that change begins on the floor of the state House, as
it often did for Mary. Other times it starts at the epicenter of an
environmental nightmare like it did with
Brown: Unparalleled knowledge
Brown’s is the political career of a public servant whose depth of knowledge is unparalleled on an array of issues, including social justice, environmental stewardship and gender equity.
“There were times when she’d be questioning expert witnesses at a hearing, and it was clear she knew more about their business than they did,” said Lynn Jondahl, a former legislator and current director of Michigan Prospect. “She had her fingerprints on an awful lot of legislation.”
That legislation included many clean air rules, and many other protections for the health of Michiganders and the preservation of the state’s natural grandeur. As a result, she stamped her mark on dozens of important state laws that still provide a framework for enlightened resource stewardship.
Retirement from the legislature in 1994 changed the venue where she practices her particular brand of activism, but not her tenacious approach.
Her lifelong passion for working with the Girl Scouts continues. She is
a state Natural Resources Commission member and sits on the boards of the state
YMCA, the Michigan Environmental Council and the American Lung Association of
Michigan. She is a founding member of the Kalamazoo Environmental Council and
the Coalition for Urban Redevelopment in
Henning: Fighting Back
Henning, the winner of the grassroots award, was a content farmer until massive factory farms moved in next door.
Then massive, polluting, mega-farms surrounded her family home near
Henning fought back. She taught herself to track and document pollution. She learned law, chemistry, biology and bureaucracy. She took on the corporate Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) owners, state regulators and local officials, forcing them to confront the problem.
As vice chair of Environmentally Concerned Citizens for South Central
Michigan and a water sentinel with the Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter,
Henning now monitors CAFOs statewide and trains others from across the
Who We Are:
From the urban rivers that pulse through downstate cities to the tip of the rugged Keweenaw Peninsula, the Michigan Environmental Council has been in the forefront of battles to protect the state’s air, water, land and public health for more than a generation.
Created in 1980 by six groups
including the Grand Rapids-based