Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Night to Reflect, Celebrate and Appreciate!

By Sage Passi

Honoring Watershed Excellence in 2015!

Each year we gather together to reflect, celebrate and extend our gratitude for the accomplishments, relationships built, and efforts contributed by individuals and groups in our “network.”

The 2015 Recognition Dinner at Keller Golf Course Clubhouse

On November 12, Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District held our Annual Recognition Dinner and award ceremonies to show our appreciation for our partners, volunteers, teachers, award program winners, community leaders, city and county representatives, Board of Managers, Citizen Advisory Commissioners and District staff who have gifted us with their time and talents in 2015!

What a tapestry of creative energy and empowerment is raised when we collectively acknowledge and celebrate the contributions that each of you make in our community! We sincerely appreciate everyone who has helped us work toward protecting and enhancing our local water and natural resources in the watershed. 


"Conservation Champion" Maxine Bethke with award-designing
glass artist Eric Sommers
Our recognition event took place at the beautiful and stately Keller Golf Course Clubhouse overlooking Keller Lake. The Watershed District has a long-term connection with Keller Golf Course formed through many years of cooperation and partnering on prairie, shoreline and wetland restoration, water quality protection and sustainable land and water practices. There’s something quite majestic and awe-inspiring about the views from this high point above the water. It is a great place to celebrate our connection to water and the land.

That night a heavy rainstorm hit just as people were arriving. It was dramatic how the howling winds off the lake literally “blew” everyone in the door. Don’t the elements often have a way of speaking for themselves? Was this a message about the collective force of the people gathering at this event? One hundred and five people braving the elements, gathering to celebrate and honor each other’s efforts made for a great, energizing evening!
The Social Hour was a great time to reconnect and reminisce.

We kicked off the celebration with a social hour that offered partners a way to reconnect, reminisce, mingle, mix and meet new people. It was great fun seeing mini-reunions pop up all over the room. People were enthusiastically conversing about projects they had worked on together years ago, as well as what they were currently doing.

Throughout the night we projected photos that highlighted the year’s events, projects and the faces of our partners in action. That is always a true feast, a reflection and a re-inspiration!

Celebrating WaterFest 2015 ... one of the highlights of the year.

We celebrated our connections by enjoying a delicious meal together.


Lancer Catering at Keller does it up for our Watershed "Heroes".

We then honored the special achievements of individuals and groups through our 2015 Watershed Excellence and LEAP Award Program ceremonies. These award programs, each with their own criteria and purposes, recognize those who have demonstrated achievements in water and natural resources protection and management, education and stewardship within Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District.

Below are the 2015 Watershed Excellence and LEAP Award Program winners. Half of the winners will be featured in close-up stories in this Ripple issue. The remainder of the winners will be featured next month. Each of these winners have unique and interesting stories!
Watershed Excellence Awards Program

This award program, which began in 2013, was initiated to increase visibility and honor the accomplishments of exceptional “leaders” who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in water resources management, watershed stewardship and civic engagement in a variety of contexts and levels of involvement within the district. Recipients include individuals, organizations, government entities, businesses and agencies. 

Eric Sommers with one of this
year's awards he created.

The District’s Citizen Advisory Commission works with Watershed staff through the summer and fall each year to submit, solicit and review the nominations and determine the winners.

They also seek out and engage artists who are asked to submit proposals for the design of the actual “artistic” award. The CAC is responsible for making the final selection on the design of the award.

The glass artist chosen to design this year's Watershed Excellence award was Eric Sommers. You will be able to read the story of his award design in the next Ripple.

Our awards this year include:

Roger Lake Stewardship Excellence Award: Paul Ellefson 

Recognizes an individual who has, during his or her lifetime, played a significant and long-term role in watershed management and demonstrated leadership in natural resources stewardship.

Outstanding Partner Award: Sean Uslabar

Recognizes an individual, group or business that effectively collaborates to achieve exceptional results in water resources management in Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District.

Conservation Champion Award: Maxine Bethke

Recognizes an individual or organization that works tirelessly to improve and protect the natural environment, persevering enthusiastically through the most trying of conditions.

Citizen Catalyst Award: Anna Barker

Recognizes an individual or organization that effectively encourages and initiates citizen participation efforts to improve and protect water quality. 

Lake Steward Award: Roger Fox 

Recognizes an individual or organization that enthusiastically engages in lake neighborhood communication and watershed education in their local community.

Youth Engagement Award: Jill Danner

Recognizes a teacher or youth organizer who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and capacity to engage youth in watershed education and stewardship initiatives. 

 2015 Landscape Ecology Awards Program 

We honored our Landscape Ecology Award winners.

The Landscape Ecology Awards Program recognizes private, public and commercial landowners within the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District that use good management practices to preserve and improve water quality and natural resources. Examples of these practices include the use of native plants in landscaping, rain gardens for stormwater infiltration, rain barrels, creation of vegetated buffers around lakes, ponds and wetlands and limited use of fertilizers and pesticides.

Congratulations to these 2015 LEAP Winners: 
Click the link above to read more about some of their success stories. Be watching for the next Ripple eNews for the remainder of the stories.

It was an awesome year; here’s to 2016!

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