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TRPA Recognizes Lake Spirit Award Winners

Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV – Four individuals who possess a strong personal commitment to preserving Lake Tahoe were recognized today at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Governing Board meeting.

The Lake Spirit Awards honor real people making real 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. This year’s winners are as follows:

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 Murphy’s 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.

Exemplary Agency Representative or 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 over 200,000 people every year. She promotes water conservation and encourages people to Drink Tahoe Tap.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, contact Devin Middlebrook, at 775-589-5230 or by email at

Photo Credit: Jack Barnwell, Tahoe Daily Tribune



Rebecca Bryson | South Shore Exemplary Citizen


The Murphy’s | North Shore Exemplary Citizen


Joy Barney | South Shore Agency Representative


Madonna Dunbar | North Shore Agency Representative