2019 Winner

Congratulations to Diana Christopulos, the 2019 national Cox Conserves Hero. 

Meet Diana

Honoring Volunteers

To date, the national Cox Conserves Heroes program has honored more than 200 volunteers.

Supporting Nonprofits

Since 2008, we have donated over $1.1 million to environmental nonprofits.

Inspiring Others

We hope to inspire more people to take an active role in community conservation.

Cox Conserves Heroes honors environmental volunteers who create, preserve or enhance the shared outdoor spaces in our communities.

Cox Conserves Heroes is an awards program created by Cox Enterprises and The Trust for Public Land (TPL). The program serves to honor environmental volunteers who create, preserve or enhance shared outdoor spaces in their local communities.

The goal is to inspire and encourage individuals who are making a positive impact on the planet through volunteerism and honor them with financial support to their nonprofit of choice. 

Individuals of all ages are eligible to participate in the Cox Conserves Heroes Program.

Meet Diana Christopolus, the 2019 national Cox Conserves Hero. 

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Karen Buck

Northeast

Karen Buck

Northeast

When Karen Buck shows up at community meetings, she’s jokingly greeted with, “The Malden River is here!” Karen has long advocated for the transformation of the neglected waterway, a tributary to the well-known Mystic River. She’s led clean ups on the Malden, helped install a trash boom and collects data to stop trash from flowing into storm water systems that would eventually end up in the oceans. 

Karen is a community builder and citizen scientist who works tirelessly to revitalize the river banks, create access for boating and improve wildlife habitats She volunteers as a water quality monitor for the Mystic River Watershed Association and leads The Friends of the Malden River. She also has encouraged Malden residents to become participants in open space planning of the waterfront. Karen’s volunteer outreach has helped an entire community see the potential of the Malden River and unite to create more public access.

WATCH Karen’S VIDEO ON Mystic River Watershed Association

Susan Spratt

South

Susan Spratt

South

Susan Spratt embodies the spirit of someone who improves the environment and inspires others to do the same. She’s been a passionate, committed volunteer at the Jolly Avenue Garden since 2012 when she fell in love with the refugee community, the beauty and serenity of the garden, and all the programs it offers for well-being, education and employment.

Over the years, Susan has spent countless hours at the garden building relationships with community members, sharing meals, mentoring youth and planning events that promote conservation, healthy eating and urban agriculture.

She aims to teach, inspire and connect both refugees and native-born American volunteers to preserve and cultivate the earth around them. She has also shared her insight, influence and generosity to help Friends of Refugees complete a major capital campaign to build a game-changing green building in front of the gardens, which will actively restore the land to the rainwater state of a virgin forest. This parcel of land will interact with the rains that fall on it just as it did more than 150 years ago, while also serving nearly 8,000 people with opportunities to flourish.

WATCH Susan’S VIDEO ON Jolly Avenue Garden

Mike Birrer

West

Mike Birrer

West

Mike Birrer created the grassroots organization, Serve Tucson, in 2011 and has been quietly coordinating groups to help beautify the city ever since. He’s built close connections with several schools throughout Tucson and works tirelessly to keep their grounds attractive, install murals and revitalize their gardens.

Mike regularly plans small-scale cleanups, which include picking up trash and removing weeds and other debris along roadways, as well as large-scale beautification projects for streets, neighborhoods and schools through the United Way Days of Caring.

Mike does not actively solicit donations for Serve Tucson; instead he gives freely of his time and resources because it's his life's passion to help make Tucson as beautiful as it can be. He inspires volunteers of all ages to take pride in their community and even asks the students he works with to share what they love about Tucson using #whyilovewhereilive, which is found on murals throughout the city.

WATCH Mike’S VIDEO ON Serve Tucson

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More About Cox Conserves Heroes

Since 2008, we have honored more than 200 volunteers across the nation who have helped us make a significant impact on conservation and environmental protection in our communities. In partnership with The Trust for Public Land (TPL), we have donated over $1.1 million to environmental nonprofits through the James M. Cox Foundation.

Cox Conserves Heroes is part of Cox Enterprises' national Cox Conserves sustainability program.

Learn more about how it works

NOMINEES & THEIR PROJECTS MUST MEET THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

Outdoor Spaces

Outdoor Spaces

Creates, protects and/or beautifies an outdoor community space.

Volunteer Basis

Volunteer Basis

Works on a volunteer basis that is not part of their employment.

Inspire Others

Inspire Others

Inspires others to engage in community conservation.