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Former U.S. Rep. John Olver and nature photographer John Green to be honored by Hitchcock Center for the Environment

LARRY PARNASS
U.S. Rep. John Olver, D-Amherst, is preparing to leave more than two decades in the U.S. Congress early next month. “I’ve done a lot of small significant things and a few pretty major things,” Olver said.

LARRY PARNASS U.S. Rep. John Olver, D-Amherst, is preparing to leave more than two decades in the U.S. Congress early next month. “I’ve done a lot of small significant things and a few pretty major things,” Olver said. Purchase photo reprints »

Olver and fellow Amherst resident John Green, a naturalist and photographer, are being given “Heroes for a Healthy Planet” legacy awards as part of the gala, which will be held at the Lord Jeffery Inn Friday from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

Julie Johnson, executive director of the Hitchcock Center, said Olver is being honored for policy and advocacy for environmentally friendly laws during his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, which at both the state and federal levels parallels much of the center’s history.

Green, Johnson said, is an exceptional naturalist and photographer and taught many people. He served for many years on the Hitchcock’s board of directors and knew its founder, Ethel Dubois.

“Each has championed an important perspective in the pursuit of environmental literacy, conservation and sustainability,” Johnson said.

The gala will feature a silent auction, music and the premier of a short film about the center titled “Roots: 50 Years of Growth.”

Made by local filmmaker Kyle Forbes Bissell, the film profiles the people and programs involved with the Hitchcock Center’s 50-year legacy, part of which is the story of Dubois.

In addition, both Johnson and Jonathan Lash, the president of Hampshire College, will speak about the planned move to the Hampshire campus in which the college will build a new sustainable building with a design team led by designLAB architects of Boston. He will also address the importance of environmental education in the 21st century.

“We are using it as a rallying call for all people who care passionately about our natural world and who recognize the power of education and understanding as a means to develop more resilient and restorative communities,” Johnson said.

Jaana Cutson, president of the Hitchock’s board of directors, said in statement that the center is already looking ahead.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating our 50th anniversary and look forward to our next 50 years of providing environmental education to future generations,” Cutson said.

Tickets are $50 to $150 each, on a sliding scale. All proceeds will go to the Hitchcock Center to support its programs.

To make reservations, go to the center’s website, www.hitchcockcenter.org.

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