Nearly 300 people attended Sustainable San Mateo County’s 24th Annual Awards Celebration on March 30 at the College of San Mateo to honor champions of sustainability, bid on auction items and enjoy dinner together. It was the first time the event was held in person since 2019, and attendees greeted old friends with great enthusiasm.

San Mateo County Supervisor Noelia Corzo and former Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith, who currently serves as SSMC’s vice chair, presented Sustainability Awards to Diane Bailey and Tom Kabat of Menlo Spark for their electrification successes; Redwood High School, a continuation school in Redwood City; and SEI, a nonprofit based in San Rafael that empowers students throughout the Bay Area to become environmental leaders.

Heather Young of the American Institute of Architects’ San Mateo County Chapter awarded the 2023 Green Building Award to the Burlingame Community Center in Burlingame, and Green Building Honorable Mentions to the Atherton Library in Atherton and Gilead Sciences’ Wellbeing Center in Foster City. These awards are jointly sponsored by SSMC and AIASMC

In keeping with the theme of the event, “A hopeful future for our youth,” SSMC featured three local high school students who have volunteered their time to make the county more sustainable.
Alex Wagonfeld
 of Hillsborough, who attend The Nueva School, received a Sustainability Youth Commendation from SSMC for his work in mobilizing peers. Other students recognized during the event were Colin Chu of Portola Valley, who also attends The Nueva School, and Ethan Hua of San Mateo, who attends Aragon High School.

Jan Pepper, CEO of Peninsula Clean Energy presented its All-Electric Leadership Awards to Lorianna and D. Michael Kastrop of Redwood City (for Outstanding Residential New Construction), Michael Willcox of Redwood City (for Most Inspirational Residential Project), Teri and Robert Whitehair of San Mateo (for Outstanding Residential Modernization) and the Atherton Library (for Outstanding Commercial Project).

The live auction, emceed by Jim Hartnett, former SamTrans and Caltrain CEO, featured a creekside vineyard dinner, a tour of San Mateo County’s Crime Lab, a Monterey getaway and a week at a luxurious Lake Tahoe home.

The annual SSMC awards are designed to raise awareness of sustainability in the community and encourage others to take action. “We are indebted to our sponsors and auction item donors for making this event a huge success,” said Christine Kohl-Zaugg, executive director of SSMC.