On June 13th, the AWW Annual Meeting took place in Auburn, AL. You can read the highlights from this great get-together in the previous blog article: Who’s watching our water

One of our favorite things to do during the AWW Annual Meeting is to recognize several of the dedicated volunteers who have  gone above and beyond the call of duty for the year.

Through the years, there are several awards that have become AWW standards. The Mullen Award is one of those quintessential awards. This award is intended to recognize the individual who has submitted more water data records than any other monitor during the last 12 months.  It is called the Mullen Award because Mike and Alice Mullen turn in such a large amount of records each year that no one else can ever beat them. We thought that naming the award after them was only appropriate! This year Mike submitted 318 records and Alice submitted 107!  That’s a lot of hours streamside!!

For 2015, Marty Schulman took the Mullen Award prize with a total of 68 records submitted for water chemistry and bacteria. Marty has been involved with AWW since 2008. Lately he has been especially active working to use water monitoring to protect one of the most endangered fish species in Alabama, the Watercress Darter. Read “For the love of the darter” for more information on that. It should be noted that Marty was also the recipient of the 2015 Alabama Rivers Alliance James Lowery Service Award!  We are thankful that he is part of the AWW family.

Honorable mentions for the Mullen Award included the following volunteers with the number of records they submitted in the past year:

  • Roger Martin – 66
  • Aren Calton -60
  • Sydney Smith -59
  • Bill Boozer -54

Marty was not able to attend the meeting, but we did have the opportunity to recognize Sydney Smith for her efforts! She won the “Snake Sighting” Award last year, so we are glad to see she has stuck around!

2015 Annual Mtg Sydney

Eric congratulates Sydney on her accomplishments in 2015!

We also would like to recognize the groups who have turned in the most records for the past year. The Coastal Plains Streams Water Watch topped the list with 318 records, which is quite impressive since it consists of basically Mike and Alice Mullen with a few others who join from time to time. The amount of testing they do is incredible and invaluable to their region. Mike is also the Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper, a member of the AWWA board, and AWW Trainer. The Mullens could not join us for the meeting because they were out west for the Annual Riverkeeper Conference.

Group of the Year Honorable Mentions with the number of records submitted in the past year:

  • RSVP Marshall County – 270 (all time total records = 9, 460!!!)
  • Wolf Bay Watershed Watch – 204
  • Logan Martin Lake Protection Association – 162
  • Lake Watch of Lake Martin 152
2015 Annual Mtg Group

Several members of the top five AWW Groups for data reported in 2015 were present.

We also like to recognize the efforts of our extremely valuable volunteer Trainers. For at least the third year in a row Homer Singleton earned this recognition. Homer who lives on the coast in Elberta became a Trainer in 2007. He is part of the Wolf Bay Watershed Watch and a great asset to AWW. He conducted 15 workshops this past year! We missed seeing him at the Annual Meeting, but will make sure to get to the coast soon so that we can present him with the award!

Trainer of the Year Honorable Mentions:

  1. Taylor Steele – 9
  2. Marshall Carter – 8
2015 Annual Mtg Marshall

Marshall Carter is recognized for his hard work as a volunteer trainer.

Environmental Educator Mentoring Award

We also had a special award this year to recognize the efforts of several AWW volunteers who are very active on the Cahaba River: Gene and Dorothy Grimes and Flo Peters.  Bill Peters was an integral part of this group and in fact he and Gene won recognition for the Restoration and Protection Award back in 2013. Unfortunately Bill passed away this past year. It has been quite an inspiration to see how the rest of this group has decided to continue his legacy of watershed stewardship by stepping up their efforts. In addition to the continued monitoring they do and their involvement with the Living Rivers Center, Gene and Flo are in the process of becoming AWW Volunteer Trainers. And they have all followed Bill’s lead in getting more involved with youth education. They are each playing a major role to help launch the 4-H AWW Program on a statewide scale.

2015 Annual Mtg Dorothy Gene

Dorothy and Gene Grimes received the Environmental Educator Mentoring Award. Flo Peters was also part of this award winning team, but was not able to attend the meeting.