Voting is open October 1 - 10, 2023

Cox Conserves Heroes is designed to inspire and encourage individuals and nonprofits who are reducing carbon/energy and water use, or who are eliminating waste. Between Oct. 1 and Oct. 10, anyone can visit to vote for their favorite finalists in each category.

The winner of each category will receive $30,000 from the James M. Cox Foundation for the nonprofit of their choice. Runner ups receive $15,000 and $5,000 for their environmental nonprofits, respectively. Plus, Jim Kennedy, chairman emeritus, Cox Enterprises, and chairman, James M. Cox Foundation, will bestow the Jim Kennedy Conservation Award to the winner in the nonprofit category.

Adult Hero Finalists – Groundbreaker Award

These Groundbreakers are adults who are hard at work creating a healthier planet for the next generation.

Michael Bechtel

Waverly, Iowa

Michael Bechtel is a full-time professor and activist who created an Ioponic — Iowa educational aquaponics — system that is self-sustaining and repurposes community waste.


Shikha Bhattacharyya

Terre Haute, Indiana

Dr. Shikha Bhattacharyya is a dedicated environmental activist and social entrepreneur who has made significant contributions to reducing waste and promoting sustainability in her community.


John Wood

Chesapeake Bay, Virginia

For nearly a decade, John Wood has been a pillar of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's (CBF) oyster restoration program, and the Chesapeake Bay community.


Youth Hero Finalists – Planet Protector Award

These Planet Protectors are youth volunteers who spend their time selflessly making a positive impact on the planet.

Cash Daniels

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Cash started working on river conservation for the Tennessee River when he was 7, after learning it was one of the most polluted with microplastics in the world.


Adrianna Maria McLeod

Ormond Beach, Florida

Adrianna is an environmental enthusiast whose life is deeply committed to sustainability and recycling.


Keala Minna-Choe

San Diego, California

Keala is an enthusiastic and determined young climate justice activist.


Nonprofit Hero Finalists – The Jim Kennedy Conservation Award

The Jim Kennedy Conservation Award finalists are nonprofit organizations that use their collective forces to make our planet better.

Henry’s Fork Foundation

Ashton, Idaho

The Henry's Fork Foundation’s purpose is to conserve, protect and restore the unique fisheries and wildlife of the Henry's Fork River and its watershed.


Lifecycle Building Center

Atlanta, Georgia

Lifecycle Building Center is focused on construction material reuse in Atlanta and nationwide.


The Texas Trees Foundation

Dallas, Texas

For 41 years, the Texas Trees Foundation has been working toward well-maintained hiking, biking and nature trails, parks, shady tree-lined streets, and other outdoor amenities in Texas.