High Desert Museum Honors J. Martin Goebel with Earle A. Chiles Award

The High Desert Museum has chosen J. Martin Goebel, president of Sustainable Northwest of Portland, for the 27th annual Earle A. Chiles Award, recognizing his achievements in helping communities to restore and maintain ecological health, balance diverse interests, and promote economic opportunities in our region.

Most notably, Goebel was recognized for his efforts in Lakeview, helping to organize and facilitate a long-term management plan for 495,000 acres of the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Through the Lake County Resources Initiative, the community has embraced job-creation and environmental conservation with a small-diameter log mill run by The Collins Companies and a biomass energy plant. A formal announcement and site work for the biomass plant is expected as early as this month.

Goebel’s passion for the last 25 years has been enabling people to change how they work with one another as well as how they work with the environment. “It has taken some time and a lot of work by a lot of individuals, but many people now have an appreciation for how the health of communities is directly linked to the health of the environment, how the fate of our economic and social systems rests on the integrity of natural systems, and how enormous economic opportunity – including stability and equity for people – can result from working together to solve our biggest environmental challenges,” said Goebel, 53. “In all these years, I have had the privilege to work and build lasting friendships with can-do rural and urban leaders from across the country and especially the Pacific Northwest and Oregon. These courageous leaders have made the real difference.”
Sustainable Northwest brings people, ideas, and innovation together so that nature, local economies, and rural communities can thrive. “When the conditions are right in a community, it is amazing what a few courageous innovators can do with a small amount of resources,” says Goebel. “Local demonstration projects can be scaled into regional solutions by action networks – common-purpose groups that learn from each other and promote successful models to a broader audience. But the key is creating the conditions that enable open and honest dialogue, and get the process moving in the first place.”
Dana Whitelaw, vice president of programs at the Museum said, “Martin Goebel’s achievements speak to one of the fundamental components of this significant award: promoting conflict resolution and thoughtful management practices in the West. We are excited to highlight his work and Sustainable Northwest’s parallel vision of stewardship in the West.”
The Chiles Award committee reviews nominations from Museum trustees, peer institutions, and the public. Diane Snyder of Enterprise, Ore., who is director of the Northern Rockies region of The Sonoran Institute in Bozeman, Mt., nominated Goebel. The $15,000 award was established in 1983 in honor of Earle A. Chiles, Oregonian, businessman and philanthropist. It is funded by the Chiles Foundation and will be presented at the Earle A. Chiles Award Banquet in Portland on Dec. 7. Previous recipients of the award include archaeologist Dennis Jenkins, author William Kittredge, and Cecil D. Andrus, former Idaho governor and U.S. Secretary of Interior.

About the Museum
The High Desert Museum is nationally acclaimed for inspiring stewardship of the natural and cultural resources of the High Desert. It offers close-up wildlife encounters, living history performances, Native American and Western art, music, nature trails, tours and classes for all ages. It is on 135 forested acres, five minutes from Bend on South Highway 97.The Museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and admission rates are: adults, $15; seniors (65 plus), $12; ages 5-12, $9; age 4 and younger, free. More at www.highdesertmuseum.org

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