North Tahoe’s Madonna Dunbar among 2015 Lake Spirit Award winners |

North Tahoe’s Madonna Dunbar among 2015 Lake Spirit Award winners

From left, TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta, Rebecca Bryson, Joy Barney, Shawn Murphy, Madonna Dunbar and TRPA Governing Board Chairman Casey Beyer.
Jack Barnwell / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Four individuals who possess a strong personal commitment to preserving Lake Tahoe were recognized last week at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Governing Board meeting.

The Lake Spirit Awards honor people making progress at restoring Lake Tahoe. Created in 2011, the awards are a way to recognize those individuals whose passion for Tahoe results in progress and environmental improvements.

“This year’s winners have shown amazing commitment by going above and beyond to protect Lake Tahoe,” said TRPA environmental education specialist Devin Middlebrook. “When it comes to creating environmental improvements on the ground, everyone has a role to play.”

Awards were given in two categories — exemplary citizen and exemplary agency representative or environmental scientist.

Exemplary Citizen

Rebecca Bryson, South Shore, is a member of the Community Mobility Working Group, which advocates for improved community connections.

Bryson also spearheaded a composting program in Lake Tahoe Unified School District elementary schools and was the lead organizer for the Sierra House Growing Domes project, generating over $100,000 for its construction.

The Murphy Family, North Shore, consisting of Shawn, Angie, Tyler, and Savannah, are committed to fighting aquatic invasive species in Lake Tahoe.

Through their business, Wet Leprechaun Dive Services, the Murphys have helped physically remove aquatic invasive weeds from iconic Tahoe locations, including Emerald Bay.

The Murphy family also champions public education about aquatic invasive species in an effort to grow awareness of this threat to Lake Tahoe.

Agency/Environmental Scientist

Joy Barney, South Shore, of the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, founded the Generation Green of Lake Tahoe Program, which educates high school students about the environment and gives them work and volunteer experience through the Forest Service.

She helped found the South Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, providing 1,500 hours of environmental education in local schools annually.

Madonna Dunbar, North Shore, of the Incline Village General Improvement District and Tahoe Water Suppliers Association, promotes environmental programs in Incline Village and around the region.

Her work on the IVGID Waste Not Program reaches more than 200,000 people every year. She promotes water conservation and encourages people to Drink Tahoe Tap.

This article was submitted by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Visit to learn more.

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