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GASP Board Member Honored with Conservation Award from PennFuture

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

Congratulations are in order for GASP board member Maren Cooke, who was recently named as one of PennFuture’s Celebrating Women in Conservation Award honorees for 2020.

Each year, PennFuture honors the accomplishments of exceptional women conservationists in Pennsylvania. The 2020 Celebrating Women in Conservation Awards are designed to encourage continuing excellence in conservation and to forge a stronger network of exceptional women working to protect Pennsylvania’s environment.

Since its inception in 2015, this event has traveled around the state to different communities to ensure recognition of local leaders, volunteers, and career professionals.

Maren was named the 2020 Woman of Environmental Community Engagement.

For those who might not know Maren personally: She is a planetary scientist by training, though since completing a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT she has been engaged in science education, environmental activism, and the arts (ranging from wood engraving and pen-and-ink illustration through computer graphics to wood carving, timber framing, and stone masonry).

Maren’s primary focus is on sustainability, and she has worked extensively on education, community building, land use issues, pollution prevention, local food systems, permaculture, urban farming, sustainable agriculture, and green building.

She enjoys contributing to the community as a Tree Tender, an Urban EcoSteward, a Master Gardener, and a Climate Reality Leader. She maintains an online listing of environmental and social justice events ( and hosts Sustainability Salons, a monthly environmental education forum drawing distinguished and passionate speakers to connect with diverse audiences on many important topics.

“I can’t think of someone more deserving than Maren to receive this award,” said GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini. “She practices what she preaches and opens her home each month to help educate her friends, neighbors, and colleagues about a wide variety of environmental issues. I’m so glad to see her efforts being recognized.  Thank you PennFuture!”

GASP President Jonathan Nadle agreed.

“Maren is unique in Pittsburgh,” he said. “She brings enviable depth to her widely acknowledged breadth of knowledge. She is passionate, honest, and sincere, living her ethos and leading by example. Maren is very deserving of the award.”

Winners will be honored at an event slated for Oct. 8 at the Pittsburgh Aviary.

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