Contact(s): Peggy Compton, Water Action Volunteers Coordinator, UW-Extension, 608-342-1633, Peggy.Compton@ces.uwex.edu
STEVENS POINT, Wis. -- The University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recognized individuals and organizations for their efforts leading to increased participation in stream monitoring, collecting stream data, and sharing their knowledge and data with awards presented recently at the Water Action Volunteers Symposium in Stevens Point.
Outstanding Organization: Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited Riverkeepers
The Central Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited has been involved in water monitoring for over ten years, modeling the positive impacts of gaining and sharing knowledge through citizen science. The Riverkeepers monitor 25 sites in multiple counties while continuing to seek new volunteers and new stream sites. They work closely with DNR staff to monitor high priority streams where data is needed, and where their monitoring can save DNR staff time and money. The organization is also involved in the assessment of fish habitat structures, streambank restoration, and the expansion of water quality projects.
Outstanding Employee: John Delaney
John Delaney, the Water Quality Program Coordinator for Valley Stewardship Network was nominated for his extensive water quality activities while acting as an exceptional role model for co-workers and volunteers alike. Delaney has been a key leader in Water Action Volunteers trainings and hands-on-stream monitoring experiences in cooperation with other coordinators and local partners. He has monitored, analyzed, and presented his findings in phosphorus sampling from 14 different sites.
Outstanding Individuals: Bill and Debbi Hiller
Bill and Debbi Hiller, as trained Water Action Volunteers with the Crawford Stewardship Project, show their dedication for water quality monitoring and conservation through an eagerness to learn new things and take on new responsibilities. The Hillers have attended advanced training sessions in macroinvertebrate identification and aquatic ecology, and have participated in phosphorus monitoring and a Karst Survey of Crawford County Project.
Rookie of the Year: Southern Brown Conservation Club
Since 1986, the Southern Brown Conservation Club has been an active chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, passionately seeking to protect the local natural resources. They annually host spring stream clean-up projects and are passionate about educating youth on watersheds and water quality issues. Since 2016, members have been involved in developing the league's National Clean Water Challenge, striving to monitor 100,000 streams nationwide by 2022 and improving water quality across the country. In the spring of 2017, the club collaborated with Water Action Volunteers Stream Monitoring Program to host a water quality training that drew participants not only from the club, but also from a nearby environmental engineering firm, students from the UW-Green Bay, and from the community.
Outstanding Teacher: Jaime Weigel
For the past three years, Weigel has introduced the wonders of stream biology to seventh graders at Whitewater Middle School, in Whitewater. Weigel successfully secured funding to purchase stream monitoring equipment and transportation to a local monitoring site. For the past three years, she has organized field trips to study stream health at Bluff Creek. During these field trips, seventh graders test the water by measuring dissolved oxygen, stream temperature and water clarity. Students also examine macroinvertebrates to calculate a biological health index score. These field studies have been collaborative affairs bringing together the seventh grade science teachers and facilitators with the Kettle Moraine Land Trust, the Rock River Coalition, and volunteers with the DNR State Natural Areas. Over 200 students have been involved in these field studies.
Outstanding Teacher: Jean Abreu
From 1998 through her retirement in 2016, Abreu, monitored a site on the Rib River with her students. During this time, she also worked with the Marathon County Land Conservation Department to share her monitoring results with them and others who were interested in the data she had collected. Abreu also contributed to documenting the water quality in the Big Eau Pleine Flowage, and worked with the Big Eau Pleine Lake Association in completing river planning grant goals.
Milestone Award Recipients
Volunteers were also recognized for reaching a milestone of monitoring and reporting data for five years (27 individuals) 10 years (Jim Gennrich, Brian LaFave, Donna Mrugala, Marilyn Starzewski) and 15 years (Kathy Bridge and Anne Miller.)