Joe Guidry of Tampa Tribune wins Leopold Award for Environmental Editorials

Oct 7, 2009

WASHINGTON — Joe Guidry, the opinion editor of the Tampa Tribune, has been named the 12th winner of the Aldo Leopold Award for Distinguished Editorial Writing.

The Wilderness Society presents the award annually to an editorial writer who has produced editorials forcefully making the case for protecting America’s remaining wildlands. The honor is named for the author of A Sand County Almanac, one of the seminal works in the literature of conservation. Leopold, who wrote a number of influential books and essays, was a founder of The Wilderness Society in 1935.

“We have been impressed by the quality of both the writing and the reasoning in Joe Guidry’s editorials,” said Wilderness Society President William H. Meadows. “He has written persuasively on a range of topics over many years, including; the Everglades, wilderness bills, the importance of state and local environmental land acquisition programs; the Endangered Species Act, forest roadless areas, energy policy, and the need to protect Florida’s coastal waters, particularly Tampa Bay.

“Aldo Leopold is probably most famous for his advocacy of a land ethic,” Meadows observed. “As set forth in A Sand County Almanac, the land ethic basically involves seeing the land and all that is tied to it not as something to be conquered but as something to be protected. Humans and the land are both part of a larger community. Joe Guidry has helped foster a land ethic among his readership.”

Born in Tampa, Guidry worked part-time for the Tampa Times while a student at the University of South Florida, where he earned a B.A. and a master’s. He became a full-time reporter for the Times, moving up to become news editor and state editor before the paper closed in 1982. Guidry was transferred to The Tampa Tribune and soon became night city editor. In 1984 he joined the editorial board. “Almost every day this job offers the opportunity to work on something that is important and challenging,” he said. His community activities include the Boy Scouts of America, Trinity Café, and the Children's Cancer Research Group at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital.

It’s a great honor to receive an award named after one of America’s greatest champions of conservation,” Guidry said. “The Tampa Tribune Editorial Department’s viewpoint is generally conservative, and we have long recognized there is nothing conservative about wasting resources or generating future costs for taxpayers, which irresponsible land policies usually do.”

Prior winners of the Leopold Award are Ron Meador of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, John Diaz of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Constitution, Don MacGillis of The Boston Globe, Vern Anderson of the Salt Lake Tribune, Tom Toles of The Washington Post, Gary Moseman of The Great Falls Tribune, Herb Field of the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Penelope Purdy of The Denver Post, Robb Brady of the Idaho Falls Post-Register, and Martha Ezzard of the Atlanta Journal.