Walter Cronkite Awards Ceremony * August 8, 2013

The Walter Cronkite Awards Ceremony was held at the Old Whaling Church. This year we honored those using the power of the media to help our environment.  Walter Cronkite loved Martha's Vineyard. A champion of environmental programs on the Vineyard, Mr. Cronkite produced the first television series on the environment, Can We Save the Earth? 


Teddy Kennedy Jr. was our distinguished speaker at the Awards Ceremony. Mr. Kennedy honored Mr. Cronkite's long relationship with his family and his legacy of service.  He shared great stories about his long relationship with Walter Cronkite Award Recipient Bob Nixon.


I admire the work of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute -- mentoring young people, making people believe in themselves, and engaging us in the issues that surround us each and every day.

Teddy Kennedy Jr.


With Walter Cronkite's daughter Nancy next to him, John Chirgwin presented the Awards on behalf of the Cronkite family. 


For Liz and Ken

For their commitment to using the power of the media to the sustainability of Martha's Vineyard and the world.


For Bob Nixon 

For his life-long commitment to the environment and for using the power of the media to inspire, engage, challenge people and shine the light on people who are building a more sustainable world.

Representative Tim Madden presented citations from Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Ed Markey, Governor Deval Patrick, and State Senator Dan Wolf. 

This is truly an honor. Walter Cronkite was my hero.

Bob Nixon


Long before it was cool, Cronkite was green.  At Cronkite's insistence, CBS News played a major role in publicizing the first Earth Day observed across the United States, on April 22, 1970. Not only did Cronkite promote Earth Day on his nightly broadcast, but he also anchored a CBS News Special Report from 10 to 11pm EST on that historic day, when 20 million Americans formally launched the green movement.  "Every year American power plants pour more than 800 million tons of carbon dioxide into the skies," Cronkite warned. "Some scientists suspect that carbon dioxide can turn the planet into a kind of greenhouse, sealing in heat so that temperatures gradually rise until the polar icecaps melt and a new deluge covers the lands of the earth."  For the rest of his life, Cronkite would credit Earthrise, Silent Spring, and The Closing Circle with opening his mind to the planet's peril. But it was sailing at Martha's Vineyard on his yacht Wyntje, a galaxy of stars overhead that led him to worship God as the master of the universe. 


Can the Earth Be Saved?

Walter Cronkite and the Creation of Earth Day
Douglas Brinkley, The Austin Chronicle

2013 Walter Cronkite Award Recipients


Bob Nixon has spent his life protecting our natural world though film and direct action.  The Academy Award Nominee and Emmy Award winner has directed over fifty documentary films in the most remote corners and threatened habitats. He carries the message of field biologists and tribal peoples that humankind must make peace with nature or we will destroy the natural systems that support our life on Earth.  In 1992 Bob launched the Earth Conservation Corps on the Anacostia River in Washington D.C. with the goal of connecting two of the most threatened resources: our environment and disenfranchised youth.  The program has enabled thousands of youth leaders to engage legions of volunteers generating over one million hours of river restoration.  His innovative work with young people has led to Bob being named A Hero of the Planet by the National Geographic Society, Environmental Educator of the Year by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and receiving the Presidents Service Award from President Bill Clinton. Bob's work has been featured on 60 Minutes, Now with Bill Moyers, ABC World News Tonight, CBS's Early Show, PBS All Things Considered and The Washington Post, The New York Times and People Magazine.


Bob's current film Mission Blue documents the life quest of legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle.  Recent films Discovery Shark Week special The Great White Highway and the Memorial Day Broadcast on the National Geographic Channel of American Heroes Saltwater Challenge directed by Bob and produced by his wife Sarah. The uniquely close to home effort documents the fourth year of the "Saltwater Challenge" that brings recently wounded military from Walter Reed Bethesda Naval Hospital to compete in the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. Bob and his wife Sarah helped preserve the Menemsha Harbor by adding the Home Port Restaurant to their two other Up Island Businesses, Beach Plum Inn and the Menemsha Inn & Cottages which hosted the Institute's 2010 Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development on Martha's Vineyard. 


Liz Witham accepted the Award on behalf of herself and her filmmaking partner, Ken Wentworth. Together, they created Film-Truth Productions a production company dedicated to making documentary films that inspire dialogue and address the social issues of our times in the classroom, workplace, and community. Their documentary Island Grown Schools - Planting a Seed for the Next Generation has helped to raise awareness and funding for Island Grown Schools, and has inspired schools around the nation to begin their own farm to school programs. At the Awards Ceremony Liz and Ken showed an excerpt of their documentary currently in production, The Greening of Eden which explores humanity's relationship with the earth.  They are now producing a documentary series based on Martha's Vineyard called Sustainable Vineyard, which highlights individuals and organizations working towards a sustainable communityFor MVYLI's 2013 Job Shadow Day, Liz was a mentor to Shavanae Anderson, the 2012 Walter Cronkite Youth Award Recipient.


As Mistress of Ceremonies, Nancy Aronie wove together the winners, theme, with words of wisdom.


Captain Buddy Vanderhoop shared a sailing story of meeting Walter Cronkite on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.  Captain Buddy was featured in Bob Nixon's The American Heroes Fishing Challenge.


The Institute's Executive Director, Marianne Larned presented the Walter Cronkite Award Scholarship to 2012 Award Recipient Shavanae Anderson who now attends Suffolk University as a Communications Major. Shav produced a special video to open this year's Awards Ceremony.


Watch TV show on MVTV & our website:
and on YouTube
Photo by Peter Simon

Photo by Peter Simon

Mary Ollen spoke at the Awards Ceremony about the Sustainable Vineyard Project.

Walter Cronkite described Earth Day in 1970 as "a day dedicated to enlisting all the citizens of a bountiful country in a common cause of saving life from the deadly by products of that bounty: the fouled skies, the filthy waters, and the littered earth." Students that participate in MVYLI share some of the same mentalities as the citizens who participated in Earth Day 1970. At MVYLI we dedicate ourselves to leaving our island in better shape than we found it. We do this by learning about sustainable practices taking place on the Island and see some of those practices first-hand when we take our Sustainable Vineyard Tour. 
Even though Martha's Vineyard has 42 farms we only consume about 5% local food. The cost of living here is 60% higher than the national average, and the Island's energy costs are among the highest in the country. With that being said, we have the chance to change Martha's Vineyard's sustainability by buying local, supporting local business owners, using renewable energy and promoting local heritage and culture. We all have the responsibility, not only as islanders but as humans to save and protect our world and our island.  

Walter Cronkite was the honorary chairperson of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute for over a decade. We are here to honor a great man and his life - a man who meant so much to so many on Martha's Vineyard that meant so much to him. We are here to also honor his dream for the future. Mr. Cronkite's wisdom and vision of preparing our youth as future leaders in their communities gave rise to this special event. His inspirational work and unwavering support will remain in the hearts of many around the world. We celebrate his place in our lives, his words of encouragement, and the remarkable man who shared a common goal for a better tomorrow. Can We Save the Earth? he asked. Mr. Cronkite would be proud of these young people who are determined to do whatever they can to respond with a resounding: YES!

5th Annual Walter Cronkite Awards Ceremony & Reception

August 5, 2014

At former home of Walter Cronkite
Hosted by Karen and David Brush

Marianne Larned thanked all the sponsors and supporters. "People here today helped to build this organization. The Nixon's hosted the 2010 Summit and Julie Flanders, the 2011 Summit. Each summer Captain Buddy Vanderhoop joins our annual Sustainable Vineyard Tour. Liz and Ken mentored Shav. From Nancy Aronie's Chilmark Writing Workshop emerged the book Stone Soup for the World: Life-Changing Stories of Everyday Heroes. Bob Forrester encouraged us to create a non-profit organization. Ted Morgan was winner of the Celebration of Heroes Awards with Walter Cronkite in 2000. Sidney Morris, founding Advisory Council member of the Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative. With very special thanks to the Conway family who have introduced us to their friends."
Stone Soup style - everyone has pitched in.
We need everyone's help - to build these youth leaders, to preserve this beautiful island.
Thank you!
Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative's mission is to train young people to envision their dreams for their lives, their island and the world. MVYLI is a project of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute, a non-profit organization founded on Martha's Vineyard in 1997. 
Many Thanks to Our Sponsors  

Walter Cronkite Awards Ceremony 2013 Donors

Geraldine Brooks and Tony Horwitz
Karen and David Brush
Carolyn and John Connors
Julie Flanders
Jennifer and Scott Frank
Rhonda and Donald Friedman
Sue Bailey and Rex Killiam
John and Charlotte Klein
Alice Jacobs 
Caryl Johnson and Kay Aikin
Pandora's Box
Susan and Dan Plaine
Chari and Brad Polley
Paul Polley
John Scales
Jennifer and Jonathan Soros
Kathy and Bruce Stuart
Dan and Mary Stanton 
 Reception Host

The Harbor View Hotel  

Pre-Event Dinner: The Chilmark Tavern
Transportation: Budget Martha's Vineyard 


Noepe Center for Literary Arts, The Capricorn House 
The House at New Lane, Vineyard Harbor Motel

Other Sponsors 
L'Etoile, Lucky Hanks, 7A, Chilmark Chocolates
Bunch of Grapes, Jardin Mahoney's
Alley's, Jim's Package Store, Your Market
Allison Shaw and Peter Simon
for Walter Cronkite photos
Walter Cronkite 2013 Invitation Committee 
Geraldine Brooks, Rebecca Conroy Kim Conway 
Beka El-Deiry and Julie Flanders 
Captain Buddy Vandherhoop 
with Kate Taylor
MVYLI Project Director: Nicole Garrity
Executive Director: Marianne Larned
Photographer: Emily Nuss * Press Relations: James Hester
Videographer: Shavanae Anderson
Volunteers: Austen Brush  
Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative *
Stone Soup Leadership Institute *
P.O. Box 4551 Vineyard Haven, MA 02568