Larry J. Smith
Wolf River Conservancy
Memphis, Tennessee

As an active environmental advocate for the rivers and wetlands of West Tennessee, Larry J. Smith and his outgoing personality and unflagging energy have sparked the interest of children, bolstered the efforts of other local activists, and heightened public awareness of the environmental issues faced by the region. He has been referred to by local newspapers as a “one-man environmental army” for the many successful campaigns that he has led against wetlands destruction, river pollution, and other threats to the region’s natural resources. When praised for such activities, Smith is quick to give credit to the widespread community support that assists and motivates his efforts.

A hallmark of Smith’s volunteer activism is his ability to build strong coalitions of diverse groups, often working hand-in-hand with government agencies and grassroots leaders to identify and address common goals. Smith, who worked as Toxics Coordinator at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center from 1992-97, has served as a volunteer board member of Memphis’ Wolf River Conservancy for the past 10 years, working tirelessly to promote and implement the public acquisition and protection of land along West Tennessee’s threatened Wolf River. In March of 1997, the Wolf River Conservancy rewarded Smith’s years of service by hiring him as the group’s first Executive Director. According to Smith, the opportunity is “a dream come true.”

— Naomi Van Tol and Eileen Segal, Wolf River Conservancy