Best Environmentalist - 2008
You can easily spot Joel Robinson and his work anywhere he might be—he's the happy chap with a scruffy beard and a floppy hat bicycling around town when he's not leading nature hikes throughout Orange County in his capacity as a park naturalist for the city of Santa Ana or via his Naturalist for You nonprofit. Dozens of groups ask Robinson to lecture about Santiago Creek and other county lands. And the front and back yards of his Orange home recently earned the prestigious honor of being certified as a native habitat by the National Wildlife Federation for nurturing and promoting the reuse of Orange County's original plants. This secular St. Francis of Assisi has nevertheless been persecuted—by the Irvine Co., which wants to transform the serene hills in east Orange into another McCommunity, and especially by neighbors who frequently call code enforcement on Robinson and have even dumped herbicide on Robinson's rare plants. Robinson is thinking of moving to escape the hassle. Don't let it happen! Be a good person and sign up for a Robinson hike to learn the natural beauty of the county and to support a man bedeviled by botanical bigots.