Friend of the Lake Award

FRIENDS honors Neka Roundy as the 2020 Friend of the Lake 

The Friend of the Lake Award is given to an individual, organization, program or business performing outstanding work in education, research, advocacy and/or the arts to benefit Great Salt Lake. 

There is a vibrant and active community of people working on behalf of the Lake. Their efforts help increase our understanding and awareness of our big salty neighbor which can lead to positive action for preservation of the ecosystem. To recognize these talents and contributions, FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake established this award to be presented at our Biennial Great Salt Lake Issues Forum.

We're honored to present the 2020 Friend of the Lake Award to Neka Fernelius Roundy. neka by tree

Neka has lived near Great Salt Lake for over forty years. As a young mother she took her children to the beach to watch the sun melt into the lake and to float in the salty waters. The outdoors and education have been a pattern in her life. Neka holds a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Management and a Master of Arts in Community School Education from Brigham Young University. She also did some doctoral work at the University of Utah. 

Neka was hired by Davis County as their first Tourism Coordinator in 1995, a position she enjoyed and expanded. At the suggestion of the Utah Office of Tourism, she started planning for the first Great Salt Lake Bird Festival in the fall of 1998. This Festival is still going strong twenty-two years later.

During the twenty four years Neka worked for Davis County Community and Economic Development, she was involved with many interests involving Great Salt Lake: Linking Communities; Wetlands and Migratory Birds; Farmington Bay Visitor Center committee/Great Salt Lake Nature Center; Master Plan committee for Greater Great Salt Lake ecosystem; traveled to Nayarit, Mexico to discuss habitat conservation with government officials; worked on surveys for the “Proposed Attitude Awareness Study of Great Salt Lake and Davis County Communities;" served as a member of the Legacy Parkway Scenic Byway Committee; served as a member of the Governor’s Great Salt Lake Advisory Council; and served as a Friends of Antelope Island board member.

Another part of her life has involved volunteering in her local community. Neka served on the Kaysville City Planning Commission for twelve years, the city council for six years, and as Kaysville’s first female mayor. In both work and community capacities Neka has spent many hours at the Utah State Legislature following important legislation and discussions.

Neka is honored to be recognized for this Friend of the Lake award. Many people have guided and educated her in efforts to make a difference to the health of Great Salt Lake. 

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Neka with Mirabilite Formations at Great Salt Lake, photo courtesy of Ann Neville

neka in mexico

Neka and friends at the International Migratory Bird Festival of Nayarit, MX, photo courtesy L. de Freitas



Why We Care

  • We suggest that Great Salt Lake is a phenomenal asset to the state of Utah. Its mineral resources have been appreciated for almost 150 years. Brine shrimp are now appreciated because they are economically valuable. To only a very limited extent is the lake appreciated for tourism, for culture, for earth systems history and for education. 

    Scientific Review Committee, Comments to the Great Salt Lake Management Planning Team, 1999