Andrea Mead Lawrence's legacy
"It is my hope that the Institute for Mountains and Rivers will serve as the institutional basis for integrating economic vitality and ecological integrity within the Eastern Sierra."
The Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers is a non-profit organization that seeks to establish a planning forum to identify key challenges confronting the Eastern Sierra Nevada. The Institute will work to preserve healthy communities and healthy ecosystems, recognizing the inextricable connection that binds both.
"ALIMAR will be the institutional basis for integrating economic vitality and ecological integrity within the Eastern Sierra."
By providing education to the public that so dearly loves the Eastern Sierra and all it has to offer, the Institute believes that the landscape stands a greater chance of enduring the changes that are already in progress. Through multimedia educational outreach we can better define what is really desirable, sustainable and attainable in our relationship with this delicate ecosystem.
Raised in Rutland, Vermont, Andrea Mead Lawrence skied competitively from 1942–1956. She won the Olympic Tryout Slalom at the age of 14 and was the youngest winner of the Harriman Cup in downhill, slalom and combined events in 1950, at age 18. During the 1950–51 season, she entered sixteen international races in eight weeks in Europe, placing first in ten races and second in four. Andrea was a member of the US Olympic Alpine Team in 1948, 1952, and 1956—the only American alpine skier to compete in three Olympics and one of only four women in the world to do so at that time. She was Captain of the women's team in 1952, where she won two Olympic Gold Medals in slalom and giant slalom. Andrea was the only American skier to ever win two gold medals in a single Olympics, and was the only woman in the world to do so until the record was matched in 1972.
"You can be a world class athlete only so many years. The grounding you get from sport gives you the right attitude, knowing there is another distance out there: the rest of your life." —Andrea Mead Lawrence
In 1950, Andrea was awarded the American Ski Trophy for making the greatest contribution to the sport of skiing and Time Magazine acknowledged her contribution to her sport by putting her on the cover of their January 21st issue.
Andrea passed away on March 30, 2009.
Mono County Supervisor, 1983–1999; chairperson, 1986, 1993
— Represented Mono County and Board of Supervisors before US Congress to support a National Academy of Science Study on Mono Basin (approved).
— Represented Mono County on National Association of Counties' Public Lands Steering Committee to promote a policy of county, state, and federal agency coordinated ecosystem approach to use of public lands.
— Testified for following bills fefore US Congress:
- In support of Mono Lake National Forest Scenic Area (approved)
- In support of Bodie Protection Act (approved)
- In support of California Wilderness Act
- In support of Desert Protection Act
Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District member, 1984–1999; chairperson 1989, 1993, 1996
— Representative for Mono County on governing board of the Air Pollution Control District for Inyo, Mono, and Alpine counties.
— Yosemite Restoration Trust, Vice-President, 1995
— Coalition for Unified Recreation in the Eastern Sierra, steering committee, 1991–2005
— Mono Lake Committee, Board of Directors, 1999–2009
— Friends of Mammoth, a citizen advocacy group formed to oppose environmentally damaging development in Mammoth Lakes. Successful legal action resulted in the landmark California Supreme Court case, Friends of Mammoth v. Mono County (1972), which held that the California Environmental Quality Act applied to private developments approved by a public agency.
— Southern Mono Historical Society, founded in 1983.
— Sierra Nevada Alliance (co-founder and past president, 1993–1998), an umbrella organization supporting local and regional grassroots groups working to preserve the Sierra's environment and economy. Focused on promoting sustainable economic ventures and enhancing the unique quality of life in the Sierra. Fostered a balance between economic goals and environmental protection and supported a community-based consensus approach to dispute resolution.
— Sierra Nevada Regional Initiative, founded in 2000 in Alpine, Inyo, and Mono counties, to conserve California landscapes and to preserve other key environmental values by improving the quality of land-use planning and of the project-review process.
— Reformed Friends of Mammoth in 1997 and co-chaired the successful court case (July 31, 2000) defeating an illegal redevelopment plan in Mammoth Lakes, characterized as a "reverse Robin Hood, taking from the poor and giving to the rich."