William O. Douglas Award

The Yakima Valley Museum has created a new award named for one of the Northwest’s most famous and accomplished individuals,  Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.

The first awardee to be honored is


US Secretary of the Interior from 2013 to 2017

The award banquet is to be held in Yakima

on Saturday, August 28, 2021. 

Justice William O. Douglas made extraordinary advances in honoring the Bill of Rights, in advancing due process and equal protection of the law, in promoting conservation and protection of our Earth, in understanding cultures abroad and at home, and in preserving Native American and Yakima Valley history and culture.  

The William O. Douglas Award recognizes an individual, or individuals, who, in their own way, have made extraordinary advances to one or more of these causes and has thus carried on his legacy and the values he espoused.  

Ms. Jewell’s lifetime commitment to championing the importance of science to better understand the earth’s systems, encouraging the sustainable use of water in the West and long-term conservation of the nation’s irreplaceable natural, cultural and historic treasures, more than qualifies her for this award.

Sally Jewell.jpg

In accepting the award, Ms. Jewell said, “I am delighted to accept the award in honor of Justice Douglas and pleased that the Yakima Valley Museum’s stewardship of his papers will ensure the lessons of his service will endure.  I can think of no better place to preserve these historical documents for future generations than in the shadow of the wilderness that bears his name, and with respect for the continuing stewards of these lands, the Yakama Nation.” Sally Jewell is the currently the Interim Chief Executive Officer for The Nature Conservancy.


As U.S. Secretary of the Interior from 2013 to 2017, Jewell was recognized for using a science-based, landscape-level, collaborative approach to natural resources management. She demonstrated a commitment to connecting people to nature, particularly youth, with efforts to encourage tens of millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work on public lands.  She was a committed advocate for upholding trust and treaty rights of indigenous communities and supporting a brighter future for Native youth.  And, as a business person, first in banking and later leading outdoor retailer REI, Jewell was recognized for bringing diverse coalitions of people together to solve complex challenges in support of a sustainable future for our natural world.  ​

She has been active in governance and board leadership for corporations and nonprofit organizations, including serving as a Regent of the University of Washington where she is currently a Distinguished Fellow in the College of the Environment.

A prestigious award committee, working with the museum, selected Ms. Jewell as the first awardee.

William O. Douglas Committee members:

Cathy Douglas Stone, Esq., Attorney and widow of William O. Douglas, Chair

The Honorable M. Margaret McKeown, US Circuit Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

The Honorable Debra L. Stephens, Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court

The Honorable William H. Alsup, US District Judge US District Court for the Northern District of California and former law clerk for Justice Douglas  

Thomas Klitgaard, Esq., Attorney and Adjunct Professor, and former law clerk for Justice Douglas                    

Professor L. A. 'Scot' Powe, Esq., Professor of Law at the University of Texas and former law clerk for Justice Douglas

Richard L. Wiehl, Esq.,  US District Attorney (rtd.)

Karen Wells, Investment Sales Broker and Justice Douglas’s granddaughter