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2002 IOWATER Volunteer Awards


IOWATER Volunteer of the Year

Dale Adams

Professionally, Dale has been involved in water-quality issues since 1989 and recognizes the importance of monitoring. He is currently an environmental specialist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture. Dale’s passion for water quality doesn’t end when he leaves the office, however – he monitors several streams in Mitchell County, and actively recruits others to “get wet” through monitoring. Dale hopes to someday pass on his sites to other individuals or organizations that he recruits. He credits Don Lund, another IOWATER monitor, with getting him started on monitoring in Mitchell County, as Dale took over several sites that Don previously monitored. Dale saw it as an opportunity to put into practice what he learned in IOWATER. To date, he has successfully involved students and teachers from the St. Ansgar FFA and biology class, Osage High School, Riceville schools, and Marble Rock schools, as well as the Mitchell County Conservation Board.

IOWATER Professional of the Year

 Ellen Hartz.

Ellen is a science teacher with ECHO Alternative High School in Tiffin. She began water-quality monitoring and education efforts on her own for ECHO students in 1998, then connected these to IOWATER when the program began in 2000. Ellen teaches a 32-week course that meets four hours weekly and is devoted to water quality. She leads her students in monitoring sites in Iowa County. Ellen’s students are literally “in the water” two to three hours each week. The students also learn how to be stewards of their environment and are involved with other natural resource activities such as attending Groundwater Association meetings, visiting the U.S. Geological Survey, independent studies, and presenting at the Ankeny Children’s Water Festival.

IOWATER Educator of the Year

Ron Wilmot

 Ron has involved his students with water monitoring since 2000, when they sampled the Big Sioux River. He has also taken his class to Iowa Lakeside Lab for a field and research project, consisting of three days in the fall and three days in the spring, using high-tech equipment to conduct water monitoring. Under his direction, Ron’s students have performed a water runoff study of the LeMars NRCS office property, which covers 38 square miles. Some other natural resource activities the students are involved with include a feasibility study for a wind turbine, a cricket frog study in Union County, South Dakota, a small mammal survey of Mt. Talbot in Stone State Park, elevation markers for Milford Site, and NatureMapping. Through Ron’s leadership, his students have also prepared presentations for city councils, service groups, the local school board, state school board conventions, state and national teacher workshops and conferences, and four presentations at the school per year

IOWATER Watershed Group/Organization of the Year

 Squaw Creek Watershed Council

 The Squaw Creek Watershed Council came into being in March 2001. Its mission is “to provide leadership in protecting and improving the environmental health of Squaw Creek Watershed by facilitating cooperative involvement of urban and rural residents in raising public awareness and promoting educational programs and targeted actions.” The council has accomplished this through their monitoring of Squaw Creek and its tributaries, and they have increased public awareness of watershed issues through town meetings and watershed boundary signs. In addition, the council has sponsored local presentations on the CREP Program, septic systems, and flood plain management and coordinated field trips to a remnant marsh in the watershed and the Bear Creek riparian buffer project. The group has actively promoted IOWATER monitoring by its members and throughout the watershed. More than 170 sets of IOWATER volunteer data from 49 sites in the watershed have been recorded. The council has also participated in work days at a prairie restoration site along Squaw Creek and in removing trash from Squaw Creek and its tributaries.