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Walden project to honor Bill Clinton for environmental leadership

President Clinton will be presented with an award Wednesday from the Walden Woods Project meant to recognize leaders working on environmental issues across the globe.

The Global Environmental Leadership Award was created to recognize those working to leave the planet better than they found it, said Kathi Anderson, executive director. Clinton exemplified that ideal in office and in the years since, she said.

“He’s working on the global stage in multiple countries on multiple levels to effect meaningful global change,” Anderson said, “so, more than anyone, we felt he was best for this award.”

Clinton was chosen for the first award partly because of his work through the Clinton Climate Initiative, which he founded in 2006. His ability to provoke concern among several countries and cities about their carbon emissions is the highlight of his current work, she added.

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Clinton could not be reached for comment.

The Walden Woods project was founded in 1990 by musician Don Henley to preserve the land and legacy of Henry David Thoreau. The organization has been working to expand its focus beyond its namesake forest in Massachusetts. This award is a major step in that direction, Anderson said.

“It has always been our focus to reach an international audience with [Thoreau’s] philosophy and message, which are so relevant on an international level with all the environmental challenges we face,” Anderson said.

In 2007, the Walden Woods Project started “Worldwide Waldens” to connect hundreds of high school-age students from around the world who are working on conservation projects.

On Wednesday, Anderson’s organization plans to present Clinton with a 1-foot, 11-pound bronze sculpture of an older man’s hand passing a globe to two younger hands, evoking the passing of the earth to the next generation, Anderson said.

Two high school students, Anthony Choquette of Lawrence and Mariah Rendeiro of Granbury, Texas, will also be recognized Wednesday, as will the Black Mesa Water Coalition of Arizona, a Native American environmental coalition, and the Athenian School, a college preparatory school in California.

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Matt Woolbright can be reached at matt.woolbright@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter
@reportermatt.