Asha Lela

Lopez Island
2012 Stewardship Award Winner – Individual Category

Asha Lela recognized more than two decades ago the need for a volunteer monitoring team to survey the Bureau of Land Management lands on her beloved Lopez Island.  At the time, there was only one BLM employee, and Asha quickly galvanized a group of volunteers to assist the BLM by providing weekly reports on human and wildlife use of these public lands.

More recently, Asha grew alarmed when learning that protection of the BLM parcels that she cherished was temporary and began a campaign to make conservation protection permanent.  She organized a steering committee of community leaders into the Islanders for the San Juan Islands National Conservation Area.  Their initial goal was to upgrade the status of all 60 BLM parcels to National Conservation Areas, and through a tireless campaign of letter writing, public meetings, visits to Washington DC and other public awareness-raising efforts, the BLM lands are now being considered for a National Monument status.