CBA Environmental Law Section Honors Environmental Leaders

The Connecticut Bar Association’s (CBA) Environmental Law Section honored Catherine Rawson, Attorney Gregory A. Sharp, and Penelope Chester Sharp (posthumously) with Clyde O. Fisher, Jr. Awards on Tuesday, June 18. The award recognizes individuals or entities who have made a significant contribution to the preservation or enhancement of environmental quality through work in the fields of environmental law, environmental protection, and environmental planning.

“These awards reflect the spirit of the Clyde Fisher award which recognizes people who have gone beyond the call in protecting Connecticut’s natural resources and improving environmental policy,” said Keith R. Ainsworth, an Environmental Law Section Awards Committee member.

Catherine Rawson is the executive director of Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust and a widely-recognized leader in Connecticut’s nonprofit community. Under her leadership, Weantinoge has added 1,700 acres under permanent protection, secured numerous grants, and received several awards. Rawson has transformed the land trust and conservation community through her collaborative and partnership approach. She is the chair of the Connecticut Land Conservation Council, commissioner of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, council member of the Land Trust Alliance Conservation Defense Advisory Council, and a member of the Greenprint Steering Committee.

Attorney Gregory A. Sharp was one of the preeminent experts in water and wetlands law and remediation of contaminated sites. He began his career in environmental protection at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and was responsible for drafting the department’s early regulations. After graduation from law school, he founded his firm Sharp & Berger before joining Murtha Cullina LLP where he remained until his retirement in 2017. During his career, he served as chairman of the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality, was appointed to the Brownfields Task Force, and was chair of the CBA’s Environmental Law Section.

At the time of her death in 2014, Penelope Chester Sharp was a widely respected leader, botanist, and wetland biologist. She served as the director of the Conservation Commission for the Town of Wilton for ten years. She was active and held leadership positions in many environmental organizations, including the Connecticut Association of Wetland Scientists, the Connecticut Botanical Society, the Connecticut Invasive Plants Work Group, and the Henry L. Ferguson Museum. Ms. Sharp served as the chairman of North Branford’s Inland and Wetlands and Watercourse Agency and as a member of the Conservation Commission and the North Branford Land Trust. She was the principal author of Trap Rock Ridges of Connecticut: Natural History & Land Use.

The award was established in 1997 in memory of Clyde O. Fisher, Jr., an administrative law judge with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. Past recipients of the award have contributed to the public’s education and awareness of environmental issues; contributed to the development, enactment, or administration of environmental law or regulation; and developed pollution prevention or environmental remediation.

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