Environmental activist Ruth Kees dies

May 7, 2009

By David Hayes

NEW — 3:05 p.m. May 7, 2009

Longtime environmental activist Ruth Kees died this morning. She was 84.

Kees was a longtime local advocate for preservation of open space and environmental protection. The city created the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community in her honor. The award recognizes others if they have “demonstrated outstanding commitment to protecting and preserving Issaquah’s natural resources for a sustainable community.”

Issaquah Alps Trails Club co-founder Harvey Manning was honored posthumously with the award Monday night. Kees did not attend the ceremony.

City Councilman David Kappler said Kees was an amazing person.

“All her work was with so much life and energy to make Issaquah a better place,” said Kappler, who had known Kees since the mid-1970s through his work with the trails club.

By Greg Farrar

Ruth Kees in 2004 with her formidable Rolodex at her Tiger Mountain home. By Greg Farrar

Kappler said Kees was not only known for her efforts to protect the Issaquah Alps — the peaks surrounding the city — but for her understanding how it all fit together with the water, the forest and the streams as a habitat for the salmon.

Kappler was presented with the Ruth Kees Award in April 2006, which he said was a fitting tribute to name an award after someone as dedicated to the environment as was Kees.

“As someone who received the award, it is a real honor,” he said. “I still have a picture on my refrigerator of Ruth hugging me when I received the award. That award is very meaningful.”

The award was established in 2003, with Kees as the first recipient. The same night, she was presented the state’s highest environmental honor — the Department of Ecology’s Environmental Excellence Award — for her more than 40 years efforts to project the Issaquah Creek watershed.

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2 Responses to “Environmental activist Ruth Kees dies”

  1. Rebecca Wheeler on May 7th, 2009 9:36 pm

    Thank you Ruth. This is not goodbye- The trees whisper your name in love and gratitude and we will always hear it.

  2. Maureen McCarry receives city’s top environmental honor : The Issaquah Press – News, Sports, Classifieds in Issaquah, WA on March 21st, 2011 8:00 pm

    […] died at age 84 in May 2009, days after the city honored Harvey Manning, the Issaquah Alps Trails Club […]

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