Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award

The Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award honors and recognizes Alexandrians who demonstrate a commitment to protecting the natural environment and keeping the City green.

Page updated on Apr 20, 2021 at 1:45 PM

Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award

The Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award recognizes members of the Alexandria community who demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment and preserving local natural resources.

About Ellen Pickering 

The award is named in honor of Frances Ellen Pickering's lifelong dedication to preservation and conservation in the City of Alexandria. Mrs. Pickering was a long-time city activist who first gained recognition for her lobbying efforts more than 40  years ago that ultimately helped to create the Mount Vernon Trail between Alexandria and Washington, DC.

An active preservationist and conservationist, she was deeply committed to preserving and enhancing the City's waterfront. She urged the adoption of the City's Open Space Plan, lobbied to preserve Founder's Park and protect it from high-rise development, and implemented the planting of 1,000 citizen-donated cherry trees during her tenure as chair of the Alexandria Beautification Commission.

Mrs. Pickering was elected to City Council as an independent, serving for one term between 1976 and 1979. She also served on numerous City boards and commissions, including the Alexandria Beautification Commission, the Alexandria Sanitation Authority, the Ad Hoc Committee on Potomac Yard, the Potomac Greens Task Force, and the Open Space Steering Committee. She also chaired the Northern Virginia Conservation Council for many years. She won two Salute to Women Awards from the City's Commission on Women; she was also an active member of the League of Women Voters and the Alexandria chapter of the American Association of University Women.

Award Criteria


Residents, groups, clubs, organizations or corporations may be nominated. To be eligible, nominees must live within the City of Alexandria, and corporations, organizations and other groups must operate within the City of Alexandria. The actions of the nominees must have a direct impact on protecting the natural environment and natural resources within the City of Alexandria.


Selection will be made by a special committee of Alexandria Renew Enterprises, the Environmental Policy Commission, and members of Mrs. Pickering’s family.

Applicable Topics

Subject matter applicable to the award criteria include natural resource preservation, energy conservation, education outreach regarding environmental sustainability, water preservation, water conservation, waste reduction and/or materials reuse/recycling, climate change mitigation and promotion of clean air.

Those making nominations may also refer to the Alexandria’s  Eco-City Charter, adopted in 2008, and the  Environmental Action Plan 2030, adopted in in 2009. Both documents define the guiding principles of environmental sustainability. Visit the  Eco-City Alexandria page for more information.

Nomination Requirements

Submissions must include the following:

  • The nominee’s name, address, and telephone number, or the key individual to contact if a nominee is an organization.
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the person nominating the candidate must be included.
  • A brief description (not to exceed one page) of the nominee’s accomplishments and qualifications for the Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award.  

Previous Award Winners