2021 Convention Evergreen Award goes to Karen Verrill

On Sunday, June 27, during the 2021 Convention of the League of Women Voters of Washington, the prestigious Evergreen Award was presented to Karen Verrill. 

The Evergreen Award was established in 2016 to honor extraordinary Action that in some way benefits the League.  Evergreen trees not only grow on both sides of the state, they are the symbol of our state.  They represent green vibrancy and life-long connections. 

Karen Verrill’s long participation in and contributions to League are outstanding example of those characteristics. Most notably it is Karen’s role in development, evolution, production and acclaim of  the civics textbook, The State We're In: Washington—Your Guide to State, Tribal and Local Government we recognize in this award.


Under Karen’s direction and management, the League produces this friendly, easy-to-read primer that covers the basics of what government is, how it works, and why we should care about it. It is generously illustrated with graphs, photos and drawings. It is the only book that includes historic and current Tribal government as an integral part of civics education. Its telling of Washington state’s history is fully inclusive of all the peoples of our state.

After many enhancements and editions, this book, written for middle school and up, was recently followed up by a Grades 3 – 5 Edition.  Suitable for elementary students, it contains many colorful images, descriptive pictures and graphics. These not only enhance the text but demonstrate the ethnic and geographic diversity of our state. There are chapters on how the early explorers affected the Tribes, some details about early explorers who arrived by ship, the Lewis and Clark Expedition and other items required for these grades. There are two chapters about how our Tribes govern themselves and how they interact with state and local governments. Other chapters describe how our state was formed, how local and state governments work and how governments effect the natural world.


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Karen Fraser -- One of those extraordinary people with compelling stories.

The Washington State Secretary of State is one of many organizations to celebrate the 100th anniversary of American women gaining the right to vote.  They have done so through their Legacy Washington project,  with an exhibit, online profiles, lesson plans, and a student contest.

Washington has been Ahead of the Curve since it first granted women the right to vote in 1883. In 1910 our state became the fifth to include women's suffrage in its constitution — a decade ahead of the nation. And Washington women keep blazing trails in fields from science to bridge building. Ahead of the Curve highlights the pioneering spirit of some larger-than-life women and little-known stories with big impacts on Washington, the nation, and beyond.

One of the amazing women that fits right into that tradition is Karen Fraser.  She is honored to have an extensive biography included in the Ahead of the Curve website, written by John C. Hughes, Legacy Washington, Office of the Secretary of State. Just click here to see that profile of Karen. 

Here is a picture of Karen as she accepted a LWVTC Lifetime achievement Award in 2016. You can read about that occasion by clicking here.

2019 Citizenship Awards

During the 2019 Education Fund Benefit Luncheon,  two League of Women Voters of Thurston County Citizenship Awards were presented. 


CIELO, Centro Integral Educativo Latino de Olympia, has worked since 1996 to create and strengthen relationships between immigrants and their allies. It strives to welcome the expression and celebration of diverse cultures and traditions and building a strong multi-generational community with respect and dignity. It provides opportunities for people to acquire skills and resources that empower them to realize their full potential.

Director, Charo Portaro, is joined by board members and staff as she shows the CIELO award.


Cascadia Research Collective, based in Olympia, has conducted scientific research and educational presentations to a variety of audiences since its incorporation in 1979. Cascadia Research receives grants and contracts, primarily from government agencies, to pursue research in a variety of areas; mostly in the fields of marine mammal and bird biology, animal behavior, ecology, and pollution ecology. The company puts a premium on publication of research results in scientific literature; conducting and reporting results with emphasis on high quality as well as timely completion.


Staff member, Alie Perez, and Board member, Greg Falxa, were pleased to accept the award on behalf of John Calambokidis, founder of Cascadia Research Collective.


On Saturday, June 8, during the 2019 Convention of the League of Women Voters of Washington, the coveted Local League Awards were presented. 

LWV-TC Coffee with the League was acknowledged with the LWVWA 2019 Effective Member Engagement and Recruitment Award.


  Thurston League delegates, Mary Moore, Sandra Herndon, Sue Lean, Karen Verrill, Sue Bredensteiner, Carol Goss, Julie Frick, and Karen Fraser, congratulate  Paula Holroyde, the driving force behind Coffee with the League, as she accepts the award.



The following nomination statement was read during the presentation.

“Born of a desire to protect and expand public policy issues supported by the League of Women Voters, Coffee with the League, sponsored by the Thurston County LWV, has been in operation for over two years. Every Tuesday morning, a dedicated group of LWV members and friends of the LWV (an average of 15-20 each meeting and a total of at least 100 different participants over the two years) gather to discuss current local, state, and national issues. Participants then write postcards to appropriate legislators.
“During the Washington State Legislative Session, bills being considered by the House or Senate are followed. The state LWV position is considered, and information from the Washington League of Women Voters Legislative Newsletter is presented. Lobby Team members, who often attend, and various community activists give updates and reasons why bills should be supported or opposed. After what are sometimes spirited discussions, participants contact their legislators by writing postcards, voicing their personal opinions of support or opposition. Pre-stamped postcards are supplied and paid for by donations from the group’s attendees. An average of 40-60 postcards are mailed each week.
“These meetings have encouraged members to be informed and engaged. They also provide a sense of community. Those of us who regularly attend these meetings feel a sense of commitment and involvement in issues affecting our daily lives. We feel engaged and needed. It is important to us to make our concerns known to our representatives at the local and state level as well as the national level. Often, we receive personal responses from our representatives. Some representatives have used our postcards in presentations to the community, and one used a postcard in a video to constituents.

Empowered voters: The actual writing of an individual postcard, even though perhaps an antiquated means of communication, focuses one’s attention and thoughts about a single issue. It helps us, as concerned citizens and LWV members, understand complex issues. We can, through the interaction of other participants of Coffee with the League, clarify our own thoughts and feelings. This can lead to developing empathy and acceptance of opposing opinions and perspectives on critical issues and puts each participant in a more powerful position when sharing beliefs.

Educated or informed voters: In addition to giving a means of making participants’ feelings known about political matters, Coffee with the League educates participants about current issues. At a recent Tuesday meeting, April 23 to be precise, nineteen people were in attendance, including two new LWV members and several visitors. As the meeting proceeded, issues that were highlighted included a proposed Thurston County Emergency Housing Ordinance Revision. Members were encouraged to attend the hearing on this issue and/or email comments to the Thurston County Board of Commissioners. Another topic was the proposed defunding of renewable energy federal research at six national laboratories, including Ames Laboratory (100% reduction) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (74% reduction). These cuts would terminate potentially thousands of jobs in the research and energy sectors as well as jeopardize the United States as a global leader in energy innovations.

Build connections with other groups or individuals: In addition to those previously mentioned, several other community organizations have been represented at Coffee with the League. Just some of these include environmental protection groups such as Sierra Club and Grand Old Broads. Missing Middle Housing and homeless advocates have made presentations. Immigrant issues are often addressed, and CIELO representatives have spoken. Gun violence concerns are frequently discussed, including support of youth organizations such as the Parkland students’ Never Again movement. Mason County

Julie Frick and Paula Holroyde show off the Award.


Dr. Allyson Brooks - Citizenship Award

During the 2018 Education Fund Benefit Luncheon, a League of Women Voters of Thurston County Citizen Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Allyson Brooks, the Washington State Director of Antiquities and Historic Preservation.

Allyson-Brooks.jpgAllyson has a significant impact statewide through her professional work that focuses on preserving physical reminders of our past. From lumber mills to schools, sacred landscapes to archaeological sites, rustic cabins to office towers, our historic and cultural resources provide everyone with a tangible link to persons and events that have shaped our communities and ourselves.  Her work helps our state maintain an environment that instills civic pride and community spirit.

The Thurston League has benefited directly from Allyson's involvement in the local community. She served both as President and Vice-President/Program Chair. She continues to be a vital source of connections and information as we plan meetings of interest to members and the broader community.  


In her spare time, you'll find Allyson doing Crossfit, running with her dogs, weightlifting, photographing sunrises, and even doing some martial arts when she gets the chance



Brad Shannon - LWVTC Lifetime Citizenship Award

Award-Receiver-Brad-Shannon-cropped.jpgBrad Shannon, Editorial Page Editor, The Olympian, was one of two people from Thurston who were honored at the LWVTC Education Fund Luncheon on October 28, 2017.

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Lifetime Citizenship Award - Meg Martin

Award-Receiver-Meg-Martin-cropped.jpgOne of two Lifetime Citizenship Award presented at the LWVTC Education Fund Luncheon, on October 28, 2017, was given to Meg Martin, Program Director, The People’s House.



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