By: Angela Danovi
Ozarks Water Watch Regional Projects Manager
Over 30 volunteers gathered in Fayetteville last month to be honored for their service in Ozarks Water Watch’s volunteer monitoring programs in the Beaver Lake Watershed. Each September, the volunteer appreciation dinner brings together volunteers and their families who participate in lake monitoring and stream monitoring in the watershed. In 2018, volunteers contributed more than 800 hours of service valuing more than $18,000 to monitoring and protecting water quality.
Lake Monitoring Volunteer of the Year – David Waldrup.
David began volunteering with the Beaver Lake Monitoring Program in its first year, in 2014. He just completed his 5th year of monitoring Beaver Lake at our most upstream site. David has provided continuity and professional service for five years, helping us to maintain stability as we launched our lake monitoring program. He has been one of the first people to reach out at the beginning of the season and does a great job following through with his volunteer commitment. I am grateful to work with him and grateful for the service has consistently provided over the last 5 lake monitoring seasons.
StreamSmart Team of the Year – White River Near St. Paul
This team has been monitoring the White River near St. Paul, our most upstream site on the White River, since August 2015. They have persevered through team member turnover, long drives to the site, challenging site conditions, and more. Team leader, Tom Edmiston has been committed to consistently and accurately monitoring the site since the team began. The efforts from monitoring this site have demonstrated that the White River has excellent water quality at its headwaters.
Volunteer of the Year – Julie Lanshe
Julie is a master naturalist and has become known as a go-to person to get things done! She began monitoring several years ago with the small StreamSmart team monitoring War Eagle at the Mill and Glade Creek. This was a big help to the team and to our program because it meant the site would have enough personnel to cover monitoring throughout the year. This year, Julie volunteered to add lake monitoring on Beaver Lake to her list of volunteer responsibilities. She and her husband adopted a lake site which had fallen off the list for a couple of years and helped us get updated data, which will be included in future monitoring reports. In addition, to volunteer monitoring, Julie helped to assemble kits and provided assistance when needed to both our stream and lake monitoring programs. I am grateful for her commitment and leadership.
Partner of the Year – Crop Soil and Environmental Sciences Club at the University of Arkansas
In 2017 we connected with the Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences Club at the University of Arkansas to see if there was interest in the club adopting Mullins Creek, which runs on campus near Bud Walton Arena. The club president, Alyssa Ferri, expressed interest and immediately got back in touch with me about having the team begin water quality monitoring on Mullins Creek. In April, a group of 15 students stayed after classes on a Friday to learn about water quality monitoring through Stream Smart. In May, more than 10 students met on a Saturday morning, conducted a cleanup of Mullins Creek on campus and then completed their first monitoring event. This November, they will be presenting their monitoring results from StreamSmart at their professional conference. In August of this year the club joined in partnership with the largest water quality educational event in Northwest Arkansas and held an educational booth at Secchi Day on Beaver Lake. Our partners are an integral and important resource for carrying out our work. I’m thankful for and proud of the Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Club at the University of Arkansas for joining with us to provide their students an opportunity to monitor Mullins creek and to support the on-going volunteer and professional efforts to protect water quality.
Thanks to everyone who has volunteered with us over these last 6 years! Your work has made a difference! I look forward to an even bigger volunteer appreciation dinner in September 2019!