Being an environmentalist used to have a certain stigma. People who recycled their beer cans or brought cloth bags to the grocery store were labeled granola-munching, tree-hugging hippies. While efforts like recycling have gone mainstream, some local residents and businesses go above and beyond to make the Kansas City area a little greener. Jim Hann, a teacher at Bonner Springs Elementary School, jump-started a paper-recycling program last year and saved the district more than $270,000 through energy-conservation efforts. Marty Hadden has volunteered to schlep and sort recyclables at Kansas City reclamation centers since they first opened 15 years ago. So Bridging the Gap created the Environmental Excellence Awards
to recognize folks like Hann and Hadden each year. One of the ways the group discovers these unsung environmentalists is through public nominations. Click onbridgingthegap.org to fill out an online application touting your favorite tree-hugger before nominations close August 31.