The Alabama Water Watch Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding service and accomplishment related to the protection and restoration of watersheds through water monitoring. This year, we are honored to recognize Jean Ann Moon, the Director of the phenomenal Marshall County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, AWW Volunteer Trainer, and longtime AWW Volunteer Monitor.
Jean Ann first contacted Alabama Water Watch in 1997 with an interest in providing water monitoring as an option to her volunteers who enjoy spending time on the water and to fulfill the RSVP mission, to enable them to use their talents learned over a lifetime to contribute to their community and enhance the lives of others.
As Jean Ann has pointed out, Marshall County RSVP is located in a mountain-lakes region where folks are drawn to the water and want to preserve and protect the environment. Alabama Water Watch was a natural fit for the RSVP volunteers. RSVP started preparations in 1998 and trained their first group in early 1999. Since that time, Jean Ann has been a dedicated monitor, trainer, and leader. She has submitted more than 675 data records and conducted more than 40 workshops.
Marshall County RSVP has submitted more data records than ANY OTHER GROUP in AWW’s history. RSVP has a grand total of 10,750 data records as of August 3, 2018. That’s nearly 12% of all data records submitted to AWW since 1993.
More than 20 years after they were established as an AWW monitoring group, there are 37 active monitors who test over 40 sites on a regular basis. Their volunteers have ranged from retired NASA scientists who like chemistry to fishermen who enjoy being on the water. RSVP continues to be a great success model for other AWW monitoring groups.
When asked about some of the ways she has kept the group going, she mentioned that they divide interested volunteers into the Water Watch teams and in many cases, the team members become fast friends who go out to lunch after monitoring. It’s more than water testing for this group. It’s about community and fellowship, something that we yearn for all of our Water Watch groups.
She also stressed the importance of having local support for the volunteers, including trainers, test kits, fresh chemicals, glassware and someone to answer questions. Support might also include calling out monitors when they forget to turn in their water data… but Jean Ann always rounds them up!
A big part of the group’s success is volunteer recognition. Since teams go out individually, it might be difficult for them to feel part of the bigger picture or see their impact. Anytime an AWW volunteer comes in the RSVP office, Jean Ann always stops to chat and give them validation for all they do. Then once a year, they gather for a picnic, luau, or pizza party to celebrate the hard work of the volunteers.
Jean Ann has managed to get tens of thousands of dollars contributed for monitoring equipment through the years from different sources including US Rep. Aderholt. It seems that Jean Ann finds a way to achieve whatever she puts her mind too, and we are very fortunate that she put her mind to establishing and maintaining AWW Water Monitoring for the Lake Guntersville lake area and beyond.
AWW Volunteer Monitor Coordinator, Sydney Smith, had the pleasure of presenting Jean Ann and Marshall County RSVP with the award at RSVP’s annual luau. Marshall County RSVP is an AWWesome group of folks!
Thank you for your hard work and dedication, Jean Ann! Happy Monitoring for many more years to come.