Botts Honored for Great Lakes' Advocacy

Lee Botts, presidential appointee and founder of the oldest citizens’ Great Lakes organization in North America, will be honored at an event on February 21 celebrating her 80th birthday.

A longtime environmental advocate, she has been protecting the Great Lakes for more than 50 years. Among her many accomplishments are founding the Alliance for the Great Lakes,* serving as chairman of the Great Lakes Basin Commission under and appointed by President Jimmy Carter, and heading environmental efforts in the administration of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.

Beginning with community activism in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood and with efforts to preserve the Indiana Dunes in the 1950s, her many accomplishments range from leading opposition to nuclear power plants on Lake Michigan's shores and helping to pass federal legislation banning toxic polychlorinated biphenyls in the 1970s, to educating children about the Indiana dunes today.

A resident of Gary, Ind., Botts founded the Indiana Dunes Environmental Learning Center and co-founded the Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Council. Co-author of two books on the Great Lakes, she is active in Chicago and Northwest Indiana environmental and civic groups, and serves on the Indiana Water Pollution Control Board.

"I can never remember a time when Mom was not fighting on four or five fronts," said Paul Botts of Oak Park, Ill., one of her four children, who will be co-chairing the event.
"Lee is a national treasure because she's spent more than a half-century protecting a natural treasure," said Cameron Davis, president & CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, whom Lee mentored more than 20 years ago.

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