2011 Lifetime Conservation Leadership Award

The Ripple Effect

What inspires Walt, and how can you make the world a better place?


“[Doing something] will help you sleep better at night, because you’ll know you’re making the world a better place.”

Walt Mintkeski
2011 Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award winner

As a boy at summer camp, he took to water like a duck.

As a lifelong sailing enthusiast, he’s still never far away from it. 

Inspired by the first Earth Day, Walt Mintkeski spent his career as a civil engineer specializing in water supply and treatment systems. But after retirement, don’t think he stopped working. “I decided my new career is as a philanthropist,” Walt said. “My beneficiary is our Earth.” 

Philanthropist means a lot of things to Walt. Advocate. Activist. Consultant. Advisor. Volunteer. Generous contributor. To us, Walt means: Leader. 

And lead Walt does — with such inspiration and vigor it’s daunting to recount his many achievements. Take a few examples and multiply by a factor of 10. You might be in the ballpark. 

Ballot Measure 76, which last fall renewed Oregon’s dedicated lottery fund for water, parks and wildlife. Walt was among the top signature gatherers statewide. He even sported homemade sandwich boards touting the measure. 

Tidal wetlands near Tillamook Bay, critical to wild salmon runs. Walt reviewed plans to restore former dairy property along the Kilchis River, then pitched in to help us purchase it. But that’s not all. He took our crew leader training and, in July, was back at the property, leading other volunteers in removing barbed wire fence and pulling invasive ivy. 

Renewable power expert. Johnson Creek Watershed Council co-founder. Energy efficiency coach. The list goes on. 

“That’s vintage Walt,” said Russell Hoeflich, vice president and Oregon director. “Involved and contributing in just about every way possible. Walt truly is an inspiration.” 

For Walt, it’s all about inspiring others to action. “Just do something,” he says to people who feel hopeless. “It will help you sleep better at night, because you’ll know you’re making the world a better place.” 

For his tireless passion, enthusiasm and generosity, Walt Mintkeski is this year’s Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award winner. Thank you — and congratulations — Walt!

Protect What You Love

Forests, Rivers, Lakes, Mountains and the Ocean—they're what make Oregon great. 

Ashland Watershed


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