Environmentalist Lewis to receive Mace Award | AspenTimes.com

Environmentalist Lewis to receive Mace Award

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Virtue is its own reward, of course. But a little party, complete with a free performance by the Aspen Music Festival and School Orchestra, is a nice treat too.

Pitkin County will honor all of its good Samaritans at the Benedict Music Tent on Volunteer Sunday, June 29, at 9:30 – an event nearly as old as the Festival and School itself.

Longtime Aspen author, filmmaker, educator and conservationist Bob Lewis will be singled out to receive the coveted Greg Mace Award following the Sunday morning Festival Orchestra’s dress rehearsal. The Greg Mace Award is an annual honor bestowed on a dedicated valley volunteer.

Lewis, 82, first moved to Aspen in 1951, ready to put a zoology degree from the University of California to work. He taught at Aspen High School for a decade, passing on his love of science to a new generation of Aspenites.

Lewis was also known for his love of the outdoors. He founded the Independence Pass Foundation, a group dedicated to maintenance of the wilderness east of Aspen. He also founded the Wildwood School, a preschool with a special focus on nature, and helped to nurture the fledgling Aspen Center for Environmental Studies in the 1960s. Lewis co-authored the tome “East of Aspen,” a historical and ecological text and trail guidebook for the Independence Pass region, and he has produced films examining the effects of pollution on the world.

The Greg Mace Award honors local volunteers who, like Mace himself, have contributed to their community. When Greg, a former director and president of Mountain Rescue-Aspen, was killed during a climbing accident in 1986, the Mace family created the award to recognize those who share his community spirit.

Volunteers for nonprofit organizations from all over the Roaring Fork Valley are invited to attend the free Volunteer Sunday dress rehearsal of the Aspen Festival Orchestra, conducted by Music Director David Zinman and featuring violinist Gil Shaham.

Nearly 250 volunteers attend the event each year, said volunteer coordinator Mariann Altseld.

“The music festival does just a wonderful thing by opening up the concert rehearsal to any volunteer who works in the valley,” Altseld said. “It’s such a great opportunity. People who have never been to a concert before can come free to one of the best.”

Volunteers are of course invited to stick around after the concert for snacks and the award presentation.

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