Each fall, we take the time to honor volunteers who have served with us over the past year. This year, nearly 30 volunteers from Stream and Lake monitoring as well volunteers who have supported our educational programs came together to celebrate their accomplishments for the year.
In addition to dinner and celebrating each other, several outstanding volunteers were honored for their service contributions.
Outstanding Service Award:
Honoring Retiring Volunteers who have given 5 or more years of service
2019 Honoree: Gary Culp – Team Leader, West Fork of the White River at Baptist Ford Bridge & Brentwood Park
Gary Culp began volunteering with StreamSmart during its inaugural year in 2012. During his time as a volunteer and site leader, Gary has monitored the West Fork more than 30 times. He also recruited and trained over 10 people to work with his team during his volunteer tenure with Ozarks Water Watch, ultimately recruiting one person who is now serving as the new team leader, ensuring continuity of the work he began nearly 8 years ago. Gary is a lifelong resident of West Fork, Arkansas. He is a long-time member and former board member of the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists. Gary looks forward to relaxing in his life-long swimming and fishing holes on the West Fork!
2019 Honoree: Denis Dean – Team Leader, Spout Spring Branch
Denis Dean Sr. was an inaugural volunteer with StreamSmart, attending our first training we held in the summer of 2012! For more than 7 years Denis and his son, Denis Dean Jr., monitored Spout Spring Branch, a tributary of the West Fork that flows through Walker Park in Fayetteville. Although the monitoring was challenging at times due to eroding banks and unexpected findings in the park or the stream, Denis and his son persevered. Denis was almost always one of the first volunteers to complete monitoring and only missed one monitoring event during his volunteer tenure. Denis is a member of the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists and is a fossils aficionado. He looks forward to giving more support to the service, outreach, and environmental education programs of the master naturalists.
Volunteer of the Year:
Honoring an Overall Outstanding Volunteer
2019 Volunteer of the Year: Jane Mohr, 7th grade science teacher at Elmwood Middle School
Jane Mohr is one of the most highly motivated and interactive middle school science teachers I have ever had the pleasure of working with. In 2017, Jane approached me about collaborating on an Ecology field trip experience for her middle school science teachers. After our first field trip in 2018, we decided to expand the field experience for the students by including water testing stations, a secchi dip in, soil testing, and water permeability education. Jane was instrumental in helping Ozarks Water Watch secure a $500 grant which helped to purchase the additional supplies for the field trip. She also volunteered her time preparing and organizing equipment for the stations, ensuring a successful field trip. On May 22, 2019 all of our efforts were realized when 280 Elmwood students completed their ecology field trip at Lake Atalanta. In addition to partnering on the ecology field trip, Jane volunteered her time during spring break and over summer break organizing and preparing lake kits and StreamSmart kits. She also helped organize data files and documents for the program. 2019 was an extremely successful year both for our monitoring programs and our water quality education programs because of Jane’s generosity and volunteer service.
Beaver Lake Monitoring Team of the Year
Dale and Deborah Bennett : Beaver Lake Site #2
Dale and Deb have been monitoring Beaver Lake for two consecutive years near the Nursery Pond. They are one of the most diligent teams on Beaver. They were the first team to contact me about picking up their lake kit and supplies, the first team to call about dropping off mid-season samples, and the first to call about completing end of season responsibilities in September. They have always completed their monitoring. This year they gave 37 hours of volunteer service towards monitoring on Beaver Lake.
StreamSmart Team of the Year:
Ward Slough Team: Erin Grantz, Brina Smith, & Abbie Lasater
Erin Grantz has been a StreamSmart volunteer since 2016. In 2018, she began monitoring with the newly established Ward Slough Team, comprised of University of Arkansas staff and graduate students. Erin has served as the team leader for two years, taking responsibility for organizing monitoring, leading the field work, and ensuring the samples and field data forms are submitted.
Brina Smith has been a StreamSmart volunteer since 2018 when she joined the Ward Slough team. Brina has been a wonderful supporter for StreamSmart by promoting monitoring opportunities to graduate and undergraduate students and helping to keep all of our samples organized through her position in the AWRC lab.
Abbie Lasater has been a member of the Ward Slough team since 2018. She is a PhD student in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Her current research involves working with Dr. Brad Austin to develop a network of discharge monitoring stations in Arkansas using a SonTek acoustic Doppler instrument, which can measure stream discharge using the doppler effect.
StreamSmart Team Captain of the Year
Fred Hopkins: War Eagle at Withrow Springs
Fred Hopkins began volunteering with StreamSmart in 2018 and immediately took the position of Team Captain for the team at War Eagle at the Withrow Springs State Park. He is one of the most diligent team captains in the StreamSmart volunteer network. He leads all of the monitoring events for his site, ensuring monitoring is completed in full and on time. He is a great supporter of StreamSmart and of his team by recruiting and training new volunteers and keeping volunteers engaged at his site. Fred can always be counted on to provide great leadership for his team and he is deserving of being honored as the 2019 StreamSmart team captain of the year.