KIRO 7’s Cox Conserves Heroes

KIRO 7 and The Trust for Public Land are proud to announce Helen Hoenig as Western Washington’s 2016 Cox Conserves Hero. Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Hoenig’s nonprofit beneficiary, will receive $10,000. The funding will be used to support the organization’s Connecting Kids to Nature program.

The two other finalists each will each receive $5,000 for their nonprofits of choice. Bill Hagen selected Carkeek Watershed Community Action Project and Kortney Okura chose Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.

The Cox Conserves Heroes program was created through a partnership between The Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, the parent company of KIRO 7. Through the overall Cox Conserves Heroes program, more than $700,000 has been donated to environmental nonprofits and 51 winners have been named. The program also takes place in Arizona, California, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Virginia.

Learn more about Helen, Bill and Kortney and the work they are doing to strengthen the connection between land and people.

Bill Hagen

Beneficiary: Carkeek Watershed Community Action Project (CWCAP)

Nestled in the trees of Seattle's Carkeek Park, you'll find a small salmon imprint pond next to a creek.  And next to that imprint pond, you'll usually find Bill Hagen.

A long-time resident of Ballard, Bill first came out to the park more than 10 years ago when the early version of the imprint pond was simply a section of the creek. Over the past decade, his improvements and overall impact are immeasurable.

Each year, the imprint pond is stocked with chum salmon from the Suquamish Tribe's Grovers Creek Hatchery then fed three times a day for three months by Bill and a team of volunteers, including 21 area elementary schools. 

Though the area students enjoy the experience and learn from it, the kids aren't the only ones having fun. For Bill, the challenge of solving problems and finding solutions is what drives him… and where he finds the most joy.

Watch Bill’s Story

Helen Hoenig

Beneficiary: Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust – Connecting Kids to Nature Program

If you're traveling to - or through - the town of Duvall, there's a good chance you'll see Helen Hoenig somewhere along the side of the road.

Helen started picking up trash while walking from her house to the health club, a little over 6 years ago. It evolved into a passion for picking up trash, and people started to take notice.

Helen's yellow trash bags and neon safety vest are easy to spot and her resolve to keep Washington green has made her a colorful local celebrity after being named Grand Marshall of the Duvall Days parade.

While Helen can handle waving to a crowd, she's more comfortable with her hands full.  Armed with her yellow bag and her grabber, she continues to pick up trash and pick up people's spirits.

Watch Helen’s Story

Kortney Okura

Beneficiary: Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust

On a summer day at Lake Sammamish State Park, you'll find people out on the water, watching the wildlife, or strolling along the path by the trees. Kortney Okura has another idea of fun on the lake… checking on the trees others may not have even noticed.

Kortney and her partner Maureen’s work at the state park is just one of many projects and many places they've worked with Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. They've been preparing sites and planting trees for more than a decade, and while Kortney is one of approximately 5000 people helping out each year, she stands out for all the right reasons.

The payoff to Kortney and Maureen's hard work is their continued enjoyment of all the beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer, and they're always looking to recruit others to the cause.

No experience needed, just a good attitude and proper work attire...

Watch Kortney’s Story

 Cox Conserves Heroes FAQ

Find answers to your questions about eligibility, nominations and the selection process.            


 Western Washington Heroes

Learn more about past winners and the local nonprofits who have benefitted from their passion and dedication.