Motawi receives Northern Lights award for environment

RECOGNITION: Due to her involvement and accomplishments in the community, Karen Motawi was awarded the 2015 Northern Lights Award for Environment from the Spectrum Health Foundation Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals. (Pioneer photo/Katlyn Vuillemot)

RECOGNITION: Due to her involvement and accomplishments in the community, Karen Motawi was awarded the 2015 Northern Lights Award for Environment from the Spectrum Health Foundation Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals. (Pioneer photo/Katlyn Vuillemot)

BIG RAPIDS — Karen Motawi’s green thumb has earned her more than just a knack for gardening and the environment, but an award for her involvement in the community.

On April 8, Motawi walked into the Big Rapids Garden Club meeting and was only given a few minutes to rest before she was awarded the 2015 Northern Lights Award for Environment from the Spectrum Health Foundation Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals.

“When they first told me I was very surprised,” said Motawi. “I don’t do anything for recognition. I do it because I love it.”

Motawi worked at Gerber Products Company in Fremont for 20 years before retiring.

“After I retired is when I really began to get involved with the environment,” she said.

Motawi is a member of the Big Rapids Garden Club and served as president for several years. She is director of the Mecosta Conservation District Board, on the board of directors for Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc., and member of the Wildflower Association of Michigan.

ENVIRONMENT: Karen Motawi has been involved with many different groups throughout her life, which is the reason she was awarded for her accomplishments on Wednesday. She is a member of the Big Rapids Garden Club and served as president for several years. She is director of the Mecosta Conservation District Board, on the board of directors for Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc., and member of the Wildflower Association of Michigan. (Pioneer photo/Katlyn Vuillemot)

ENVIRONMENT: Karen Motawi has been involved with many different groups throughout her life, which is the reason she was awarded for her accomplishments on Wednesday. She is a member of the Big Rapids Garden Club and served as president for several years. She is director of the Mecosta Conservation District Board, on the board of directors for Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc., and member of the Wildflower Association of Michigan. (Pioneer photo/Katlyn Vuillemot)

Motawi believes her love for the environment was passed down to her from her father.

“My father would take us on wildflower walks and ever since then, I have grown up interested in nature,” she said.

Out of the many groups Motawi is involved in, she is most proud of her involvement with the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary in Newaygo County.

“Karen has worked extensively with the U.S. Forest Service, raising funds, recruiting volunteers and making improvements to the sanctuary,” said Charmaine Lucas, district manager for the Mecosta Conservation District. “In May 2014, she was honored at a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary Infrastructure Enhancement Project.

“Karen is one of those rare people that I say talk the talk and walk the walk,” Lucas said. “She is a wealth of information, knowledge and wisdom and so willing to share with others. I speak for myself and others when I say I am honored to call her my friend and mentor.”

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Posted by Katlyn Vuillemot

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