John Beal
I’M A PAL (International Marine Association Protecting Aquatic Life) Foundation
Seattle, Washington

John Beal has been restoring habitat, streams, and wetlands for more than 25 years. Inspired by the idea that people should leave the world a better place than they found it, Mr. Beal began restoring an urban tributary to Seattle’s Duwamish River, an industrialized watercourse for which many people in the area had lost hope. Rather than writing off the waterway, he organized a network of volunteers to clean up trash, replant streams, restock them with wild salmon, and raise public awareness about the Duwamish River. He founded the I’M A PAL (International Marine Association Protecting Aquatic Life) Foundation, a grassroots nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to protecting waterways, watersheds, and their ecosystems.

Working with schools, environmental organizations, community advocates, tribes, and governmental agencies, Mr. Beal has rallied public support and funding for many projects involving critical habitat restoration and salmon stream daylighting (a term used for restoring buried waterways by removing them from underground pipes and culverts and recreating natural surface drainage patterns). The I’M A PAL Foundation now has 18 restoration project sites and has also successfully rehabilitated hundreds of injured and abandoned animals through its wildlife rehabilitation facility. The organization supports several outdoor and indoor education programs that work with students and “at risk” youth groups. Ten years ago, Mr. Beal expanded his efforts to restoring the entire Duwamish River watershed through the Green/Duwamish Watershed Alliance and the Duwamish River Patrol, both of which he founded and runs. He carries his passion for involving the community with him on this larger task, and he is making a difference in his community and the ecosystem.

— Lana Beal, Seattle, Washington, (Photo Courtesy of YES! Magazine)