'Bag Monster' conservation leader recognized with Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award in Port Townsend
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Nancy Israel/Port Townsend Marine Science Center
Jude Rubin, recipient of the 2015 Eleanor Stopps Award, gets in “bag monster” mode at the award ceremony Wednesday in Port Townsend.
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Nancy Israel/Port Townsend Marine Science Center
Port Townsend Marine Science Center Executive Director Janine Boire, left, gives Jude Rubin the 2015 Eleanor Stopps Award on Wednesday.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — Judith “Jude” Rubin, who has worked in support of a variety of environmental causes, is this year's recipient of the Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award.

“On behalf of the many hundreds of people who collaborated on these important projects, I am deeply honored to accept this award,” Rubin, 50, said Thursday.

Rubin's selection for the 11th annual award was announced at a Wednesday breakfast at Fort Worden State Park.

The breakfast drew 165 people and earned $54,113 to support the marine science center's programs.

Rubin “has been an essential part of so many wonderful environmental movements in Jefferson County,” said Janine Boire, executive director of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

The award — first given in 2005 by Jefferson County and since 2009 by the marine science center — recognizes a conservation leader each year in the name of Eleanor Stopps of Port Townsend.

Stopps, who died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 92, was an advocate for the protection of the North Olympic Peninsula environment.

In the 1960s and 1970s, she testified before the state Legislature and U.S. Congress.

She was instrumental in federal action establishing the Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge in 1982.

“The inspiration of this award is very powerful,” Boire said, “helping us to recognize that we are all involved in saving the environment, no matter who we are.”

Rubin, a Port Townsend resident, was recognized for her efforts during the past two decades to engage hundreds of students, parents, teachers and other residents in environmental restoration work each year.

“Jude's legacy is so similar to Eleanor's in that she has inspired change and environmental stewardship in generations of students, teachers and community members,” said Robin Ornelas, the chair of the award's selection committee and Stopp's close friend.

Rubin's efforts have helped to preserve more than 4,000 acres in the Tarboo Dabob Watershed while she served as the stewardship director and as a founding board member of Northwest Watershed Institute, Boire said.

Rubin appeared before the Port Townsend City Council several times as the Bag Monster, wearing a suit made of 500 plastic bags that represented what each Port Townsend resident then used in a year.

Her efforts contributed to the city's passage of a plastic bag ban in 2012, council members said at the time.

Rubin-as-bag-monster made an appearance at Wednesday's breakfast, springing out of a closet as Boire was at the podium wondering where the honored guest had gone.

Rubin also founded Shooting Star Farm, an organic, community-based farm in Port Townsend dedicated to providing a safe, enduring source of locally grown food.

Previous Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award winners are Katherine Baril, 2005; Anne Murphy, 2006; Tom Jay and Sara Mall Johani, 2007; Al Latham, 2008; Peter Bahls (Rubin's husband), 2009; Sarah Spaeth, 2010; Dick and Marie Goin, 2011; Judith Alexander, 2012; Rebecca Benjamin, 2013; and Ray Lowrie, 2014.

For more information, see www.ptmsc.org or call 360-385-5582.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 15. 2015 9:05PM
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