Bob Wilson named a finalist for a Michigan Governor’s Fitness Award

This is one honor among many in Bob's lifelong sustainability career.

Bob Wilson, top right, pictured with students from one of his courses at MSU.
Bob Wilson, top right, pictured with students from one of his courses at MSU.

Bob Wilson, an instructor in the Department of Community Sustainability (CSUS), was recently announced as a finalist for the Director’s Champion of Health Award, an award that’s part of the Michigan Governor’s Fitness Awards.

Bob Wilson
Bob Wilson

The Governor’s Fitness Awards are presented by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports and the Michigan Fitness Foundation. The Governor’s Fitness Awards recognize communities, organizations, and individuals who inspire people to eat healthy and move more.

Finalists were nominated by other Michiganders and were chosen by a panel of judges from across the state.

Wilson says of his nomination, “I am very pleased to be honored as a finalist for this award by the Governor and the Michigan Fitness Foundation. The program and recognition is meant to help reinforce the important policy steps we all can take to provide for opportunities to help sustain and grow and link the diversity of Michigan’s communities.”

Amy Butler, Michigan State University’s Director of Sustainability says of Wilson, “I have had the honor to work with Bob Wilson throughout both of our careers. To be recognized by the Governor and Michigan Fitness foundation as a state finalist for the Director's Champion of Health is a fitting tribute to Bob's dedication to his passion protecting Michigan’s natural resources and creating public policy to support widespread access to public recreation.”

Given Wilson’s productive career addressing legislation around natural resources and outdoor activity, this recognition is well deserved.

Wilson served 28 years as Senior Counsel to the Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs, Outdoor Recreation Committees and Republican Caucus in general where he worked on legislation that amended every part of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. Throughout his tenure in public policy, Wilson served as the Policy Advisor for the Michigan Senate Majority Policy Office, and he worked on the development of the Michigan Trailways Act, the Great Lakes Compact, Recreation Passport program, ballast water and invasive species regulation laws, electric waste recycling, and land use laws.

Grand opening of the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1
Grand opening of the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1

Next he took a position as the Executive Director of the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, helping guide the opening of the Great Lake to Lake Trails Route #1, the state’s longest destination trail. Working with friend and trail philanthropist Mike Levine, he helped to create a statewide history telling scholarship program for Michigan Trails then worked with DNR to launch the state’s new water trail designation and Pure Michigan Trails program. He was the organization’s chief advocate for key statutory changes to Michigan’s trail law including passage of e-bike legislation and changes to the Michigan Trailways Act that further enabled local trail development and helped secure a $3 million legislative appropriation for the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail.

Wilson now serves as a trail volunteer for Meridian Township, a board member of the Friends of Ingham County Parks, was appointed by Governor Whitmer to serve as chairman of the Michigan Trails Advisory Council, and as an instructor in CSUS. Wilson teaches a number of popular classes on public policy and law and serves as a mentor and role model to students in CSUS and across campus.

“We are so fortunate to have Bob back at MSU as both an instructor and mentor for Spartans - sharing his knowledge and experience while helping them discover their passion and to effectively advocate for what they believe in,” says Butler of Wilson’s contributions to MSU. “His interaction with students instills confidence and inspires innovation - preparing them to lead into the future.”

Reflecting on his career, Wilson says, “For much of my professional life I have focused on helping to develop public policy to help provide for a stronger and healthier state. I consider the opportunity I have had to teach at Michigan State University to be the most important work I have done in promoting sustainability and a healthy natural resource base. There is no more enduring achievement than to be able to engage and encourage our students to be citizen advocates for the causes they believe in.”

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