2016 Volunteer Stream Monitoring Award Winners

Since 2002, the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have recognized exemplary work in volunteer stream monitoring in Wisconsin with the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Awards Program. Individuals and groups are recognized for their efforts leading to increased participation in stream monitoring, collecting valuable stream data, and sharing their knowledge of stream monitoring with others.  The 2016 award recipients were honored recently during the annual Water Action Volunteers Symposium, held April 1-2 in Stevens Point, WI.

The University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Department of Natural Resources present the Wisconsin Stream Monitoring Awards annually to recognize volunteers, employees and teachers for their commitment to monitoring, collecting data, raising awareness and sharing knowledge about Wisconsin streams.

Congratulations to this year's winners!

2016 Award Winners

(Back row, left to right) Peggy Compton, Water Action Volunteers Coordinator, UW-Extension; Laura DeGolier; Tim Asplund, Monitoring Section Chief, DNR; Patricia Cicero; Camryn Kluetmeier; Ilana Haimes, Water Action Volunteers Coordinator, DNR; (front row, left to right) Valley Stewardship Network representatives: Christie Homstad, Shelly Brenneman, John Delaney; Ellen Brooks; Dave Hackett; Bill Keen; Charlie Frisk.

See more photos of the 2016 Award Winners here!

Dave Hackett and Ellen Brooks, Gays Mills

Ellen and Dave monitor as part of the Valley Stewardship Network. They are extremely dedicated volunteers and have been monitoring their stream station on the Halls Branch in Crawford County within the Kickapoo River Watershed since the year 2000. Dave and Ellen are passionate about water quality issues and excited that the data they collect contributes to water quality conservation efforts. Their data contributed to part of a Kickapoo River Watershed Assessment in 2010 and they are eager to see how their past and future data will contribute to a broad effort to monitor water quality changes in 10 Kickapoo sub-watersheds. In 2014 Ellen and Dave began monitoring total phosphorous on their site and they also recently began monitoring an additional site for the Crawford Stewardship Project. Dave and Ellen often assist with training events, share their insights with others, and serve as role models and mentors for new WAV volunteers.

Bill and Lisa Keen, Verona

The Keens have been part of the WAV program since 2007 when they began monitoring three sites in the Upper Sugar River Watershed, including Badger Mill Creek which flows through their backyard. Last year they began total phosphorus monitoring at their sites, and uncovered extremely high levels in Badger Mill Creek, which they shared with the surrounding municipalities, along with Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District.  Bill is also a member of Town of Verona's Natural and Recreational Areas Committee, which effectively gives their monitoring results another voice.  Lisa Keen has served in every officer position on the USRWA Board of Directors since 2001 and has always been a model of consistency and dependability for other board members.

Their river stewardship efforts also include helping to organize river clean-up days and invasive species removal events, raising beetles for purple loosestrife control, storing the Association’s canoes and kayaks in their backyard, and creating an endowment fund for USRWA in honor of Bill's late mother Elinor. 

Laura DeGolier, Fond du Lac

For 10 years, Laura DeGolier has worked tirelessly to participate in and lead stream-monitoring efforts in the Fond du Lac area. Since beginning in 2006, she has monitored the East Branch of the Fond du Lac River faithfully spring to fall. She has also initiated and continued to monitor additional sites with her dedicated team, the Water Warriors.  She has participated in WAV’s road salt monitoring project, has attended train the trainer workshops, reviews her team’s data, and shared her knowledge with others through numerous presentations and avenues.

Laura interacts regularly with her local legislators to share her team’s stream monitoring activities. She has even taken her Legislators out monitoring with her to demonstrate to them how the data is generated. This creative method of communication served to broaden those Legislators’ understanding of what it means to be a volunteer monitor, and has helped to gain their support for stream protection.  Laura and the Water Warriors team were recently honored at the State Capitol by Senator Gudex and Representative Thiesfeldt with a Joint Resolution for their 10 years of community effort.

Camryn Kluetmeier, Madison

At the age of three, Camryn Kluetmeier was already smitten with the natural world and by the fourth grade it was apparent that she would be an “Earth Protector,” who would make conscious decisions to tread lightly on the Earth.  The WAV program seemed tailor-made for a motivated kid with a passion for the outdoors and an insatiable curiosity. At the ripe age of 11, she travelled to Jefferson, Wis. for a day of stream monitoring training, and contributed greatly to the dialogue.

Camryn started the Eagle School Stream Monitoring Club with the help of her mom and others and she absolutely shined as a mentor and guide to her middle-school peers.  In addition to the school stream monitoring club, Camryn has led first graders from Franklin Elementary School to do water testing and storm drain stenciling on Lake Monona, and a group of third-graders from her church to test water in Lake Mendota.

A semester at Conserve School in Land O’ Lakes, Wis. gave Camryn the opportunity to monitor streams and lakes in the Northwoods.  When she returned home, she decided that she wanted to adopt a stream permanently and is about to embark on her second year of monitoring Swan Creek in Fitchburg.  Camryn calls her stream monitoring outings “wading in the boots of water quality professionals” and hopes that by sharing her passion she will inspire others to protect our precious water resources and become stream monitors themselves one day, maybe even professional ones.

Charlie Frisk, Green Bay

Since the program’s inception in 2003, Charlie Frisk has been integral to the success of the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program and has instilled in his students a sense of respect and passion for protecting the water resources. 

As a teacher at Luxemburg-Casco High School, Charlie has encouraged hundreds of high school students to take action and care about clean water.  He has been a role model for many of his students who have gone on to careers related to science and the environment and also trained other teachers during the annual Summer Teacher Workshops. His dedication and passion for educating the students of northeast Wisconsin and to restoring the quality of local waterways is essential for the vitality of the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program.

Despite his recent retirement, he has continued to work tirelessly for the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program.  As a mentor for new teachers, Charlie remains a very active member of the Baird Creek stream team in Green Bay and continues to monitor consistently.  Charlie has acted as the program’s spokesperson and has reached out to members of the community to educate them about the important work being done by the program’s teachers and students.  As an advocate for clean water, Charlie has been highly involved in community outreach projects that have helped spread the awareness and have secured funding for the monitoring program.

Valley Stewardship Network, Viroqua and surrounding area

The Valley Stewardship Network works in the Kickapoo River and neighboring watersheds, in southwest Wisconsin, to protect the land and water through stewardship outreach and citizen action. For over 15 years VSN has coordinated a group of water quality monitors through the WAV program. Over two hundred citizen scientists have been trained to date with over 50 monitoring stations established. Currently the Valley Stewardship Network has over 30 active monitors, a few of which have been collecting data for over a decade. The dedicated work of these citizen scientists contributed data for a water quality assessment for the Kickapoo River Watershed, published in 2010.

Valley Stewardship Network hosts three WAV program trainings each year, including an initiative to provide advanced training opportunities for established WAV program volunteers.   In addition, they also coordinate 10 additional education workshops each year that focus on land and water stewardship, and also provide hands-on water quality and stream ecology education for hundreds of youth each year during summer workshops and school field trips.

In their most recent project, Valley Stewardship Network is working with multiple partners to adapt Iowa State University's prairie STRIPS native tallgrass prairie buffer model to southwest Wisconsin, with the potential to greatly reduce runoff and improve water quality.

Patricia Cicero, Jefferson County

From Volunteer Stream Monitoring, Project RED, Clean Boats/Clean Waters programs (to name only a few) to her leadership roles at Jefferson County, Rock Lake Improvement Association, or Rock River Coalition, Patricia Cicero has dedicated her career to water resources. 

Patricia works at Jefferson County Land & Water Conservation Department and has been contributing data to the DNR through various monitoring programs since 2005. She has been a go-to resource for WAV when launching new initiatives by securing volunteers or monitoring herself.  Patricia has been involved in all levels of WAV monitoring, including attending Train the Trainer workshops, baseline monitoring, and phosphorus and road salt monitoring. 

Patricia is also involved in monitoring with Project RED, Clean Boats, CleanWaters, and Citizen Lake Monitoring Network.  Her connections and experience through these programs and her position with Jefferson County provide Patricia the background and knowledge to be a great resource locally and answer the questions that arise about what and why data collection is needed Whether on a stage or in a boat, she can always be counted on to talk to groups about the importance of monitoring our water resources. 

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