FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake was founded in 1994. The mission of FRIENDS is to preserve and protect the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem and to increase public awareness and appreciation of the lake through education, research, advocacy and the arts. The long-term vision of FRIENDS is to achieve comprehensive watershed-based restoration and protection for the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem.
FRIENDS has a very active Board of Directors and an Advisory Board consisting of professionals in the scientific, political, literary, education, and broadcast communities. The organization sponsors an array of programs, activities, and materials in pursuit of its mission.
Every two years, FRIENDS hosts the Great Salt Lake Issues Forum to provide a focused discussion about the Lake for policy makers, researchers, planners, industry and other stakeholders. The goal of each Forum is to encourage constructive dialogue about the future of the lake's ecosystem and its resources, and to illuminate the complexities involved in research, management and planning for the lake.
The Friend of the Lake Award, given at each Forum, acknowledges a citizen, business or organization working to promote GSL awareness in the community.
In 1998, FRIENDS was awarded the Conservation Achievement Award by the Utah Chapter of the Wildlife Society.
In 2000, Project SLICE, a 4th grade curriculum using Great Salt Lake as a system of study, was initiated. It consists of 7 units of study, a Speakers Network, Teacher Training Workshop, and Lakeside Learning Field Trips.
In 2002, the Doyle W. Stephens Scholarship Award was established. The scholarship provides support to undergraduate and graduate students engaged in new or on-going research that focuses on Great Salt Lake.
In 2002, Lynn de Freitas, FoGSL Board President, was awarded the Outstanding Volunteer Educator Award by the Utah Society for Environmental Education.
In 2006, FRIENDS was the recipient of the Calvin K. Sudweeks Award by the Utah Water Quality Board for outstanding contributions in the water quality field.
In 2006, Lynn de Freitas, Executive Director, received the "Award for Courage, Confidence, and Character" from the Girl Scouts of Utah. The award recognizes women and men who, through their life and actions, have made a difference in the community.
In 2014, FRIENDS established The Alfred Lambourne Prize, an annual recognition and celebration of regional creativity inspired by our inland sea. FRIENDS invited creative work inspired by the Lake in the forms of visual arts, literary arts, sound and movement.
In 2014, our Lakeside Learning Field Trip Program introduced over 1400 fourth grade students to the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem.
In 2015, thanks to a generous grant from Cargill Salt, FRIENDS launched an extenstion of our Lakeside Learning Field Trip Program to serve the Tooele School District.