The Peg and Jules Tileston Award

Awarded Jointly by the Alaska Conservation Alliance and the Resource Development Council

Nominations for 2011 closed May 31. Please check back for winners!

View the 2010 Winners

View the 2009 Winners

View the 2008 Winner

The Alaska Conservation Alliance and the Resource Development Council (RDC) both agree that economic development and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive goals. The Tileston award was created to acknowledge individuals and/or businesses that create solutions and innovations advancing both goals.  The “Tileston Award” is named in honor of two long-time Alaskans, Peg and Jules Tileston, who worked on seemingly different sides of conservation and development issues but who always agreed “that if it is in Alaska, IT MUST BE DONE RIGHT!”

Opposites may attract, but it takes communication, patience, respect, and a healthy sense of humor to create a sustainable, lasting, and constructive relationship. Peg and Jules Tileston have these qualities in abundance. Married for 54 years and with three children, Peg and Jules learned how to balance their divergent perspectives successfully—and, in the process, develop a better definition of what’s “Right” for Alaska—by talking together, respectfully hearing what the other had to say, and finding common ground on which both could agree. 

With such different career tracks and professional interests, an outside observer could wonder at the lasting success of Peg and Jules’s marriage. Jules studied biology, geology, and ecology as an undergraduate and graduate student, while Peg majored in physical education and history. After working with the Department of Interior leading the wild river studies in Alaska, Jules went on to serve as the Deputy State Director for Lands and Renewable Resources for the Bureau of Land Management, where, among other items, he was the BLM Lead for federal exploration of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. At the same time, Peg was on the National Board of Directors for the Sierra Club, co-founded and served as board president of Trustees for Alaska, was one of the “founding mothers” of the Alaska Center for the Environment, and co-founded the Alaska Conservation Foundation. In the 1980s and ‘90s Jules worked with the Department of Interior during planning and construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and later served as director of the Division of Mining and Water Management for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Meanwhile, Peg continued to serve on the ACE and ACF boards as well as the Alaska Women’s Environmental Network steering committee, and started a weekly electronic calendar of conservation-related events called “What’s Up.” Questions on topics such as where and how mines should be permitted and the Trans-Alaska Gas System EIS process prompted spirited discussions. As the Tileston children agree, it made for interesting dinner table conversation. And yet in spite of—or perhaps because of—the Tileston’s contradictory experiences and perspectives, the issues worked on by one were improved and advanced because of the other’s input.

The conservation community and the development community stand to learn from the example set by the Tilestons. We will get further by working together starting early in the process; by engaging in open, honest, and—above all—respectful dialogue; and by identifying together the overarching vision of how a successful project can and should balance environmental conservation and responsible resource development.

As Alaskans we may occasionally disagree on how things should happen, but, like the Tilestons, we can all agree that if it is in Alaska, IT MUST BE DONE RIGHT.

View a pdf of the Anchorage Daily News article published on March 13, 2008

Nominations for 2011 closed May 31. Please check back for winners!