Volunteer Recognition

DAvid Gabbard Volunteer of the Year Award

David Gabbard was one of Watershed Watch's most ardent and enthusiastic supporters.  And, as you can tell from the photo, he took safety precautions very seriously!  He helped with sampling and training new volunteers, and was very active in promoting measures to address stormwater pollution and erosion control on construction sites.

Unfortunately, David passed away in 2014 and is greatly missed by the Watershed Watch community.  In his honor, we began awarding a Volunteer of the Year Award to others who have been very active in the organization and gone above and beyond to help us protect and improve water quality.

2023 Volunteer of the Year - Jill Hicks, Powell County

Jill is a Sampling Superstar!  She has taken on several (7!) sampling sites in the Red River Gorge, sharing these sites with her son to keep tabs on water quality in the Gorge's beautiful streams.  She has also helped run samples to the lab and helped with E. coli analysis.  In addition to Watershed Watch activities, she produces beautiful artwork of the creatures that inhabit the local creeks and forests.  Check out her work at Red River Green Art! (Jill is the one on the right in the photo!)

2022 Volunteer of the Year - Chet Sygiel, Breathitt County

Chet has been a dedicated Watershed Watch sampler since 2001!  He samples Quicksand Creek and South Quicksand Creek in Breathitt County and serves as an Area Coordinator who helps ensure that water samples from others in his area make it to the lab for analysis.  KRWW greatly appreciates his efforts to recruit new samplers who will continue, and hopefully expand, his efforts to monitor Breathitt County waterways.

2021 Volunteer of the Year - Jane Vanhook, Lincoln County

Jane is definitely one of our stellar Watershed Watch volunteers! She has been sampling with us since 2008 and has taken several other Lincoln County samplers under her wing to better understand Stanford's St. Asaph Creek, which flows right through town.  In addition to collecting water quality data, Jane has also provided water and other environmental education to numerous children and adults in her community.  Her favorite activity is taking young kids to the creek and exploring with them!  And, she has helped develop and carry out several Kentucky River Authority Watershed Grants to benefit water quality in her region of the Dix River Watershed.

2020 Volunteer of the Year - Jerry Weisenfluh, Fayette County

Jerry has been participating in Watershed Watch since 2015 in multiple capacities.  He samples Wildcat Chase creek in Fayette County, serves on the KRWW Board and as co-chair of the Science Advisory Committee, and has provided immense assistance with the Watershed Watch database.  

Jerry has also helped with sample Lexington's streams and stormwater outfall through KRWW's partnership with Lexington's Stormwater Program.  And, he helped create a native plant garden in the riparian buffer beside his neighborhood creek, Wildcat Chase!

2019 Volunteer of the Year - Jack Stickney, Estill County

Jack began sampling with Watershed Watch in 2000 and has been a dedicated Area Coordinator since 2005, running samples from others in his area to the lab for analysis.  He has also served on the KRWW Board and provided helpful guidance from his professional role with the Kentucky Rural Water Association.  Now retired, Jack continues to collect samples from nearby Twin Creek and the Red River.

2018 Volunteer of the Year - Tricia Coakley, Fayette County

You name it, Tricia's done it for KRWW!  Sampler, Area Coordinator for the Red River Gorge area, Sampler Trainer, Board Member, and Board Chair from 2017 through 2020!  She also has lent invaluable advice from her professional experience as a lab manager at UK and even helped set up Beattyville's Water Treatment Plant to assist with E. coli analysis for our samplers.

2017 Volunteer of the Year - Hank Graddy, Woodford County

One of the initial founders of the Watershed Watch organization through his involvement with the Bluegrass Chapter of the Sierra Club, Hank has been a stalwart supporter of the organization ever since 1997!  He continues to sample Glenns Creek in Woodford County and serve on the KRWW Board, as well as provide representation for the Kentucky River Basin at the statewide Watershed Watch board meetings.  

2016 Volunteer of the Year - Regina Donour, Letcher County

Regina sampled Letcher County streams from 2006 through 2018 and served as a valuable Area Coordinator for the southeastern region of the Kentucky River Basin.  She trained samplers and helped form the Headwaters organization to help educate about and protect streams that flow out of Letcher County into three different river basins--those of the Kentucky River, Big Sandy River and Cumberland River.  She also introduced students in her high school biology classes to their local streams and ways to help care for them.  We miss you, Regina!

2015 Volunteer of the Year - Alice Jones, Madison County

Alice started sampling Muddy Creek in Madison County in 1998 and went on to become a Trainer and Area Coordinator, helping run numerous samples from others to the lab in Lexington.  She has also served multiple years on the KRWW Board and is the incoming Board Chair for 2021.  Additionally, her expertise and connections as an EKU Geology Professor and Director of the Center for Appalachian Studies have greatly benefited the organization.

2014 Volunteer of the Year - Don and Pat Dampier, Scott County

Appropriately, the first recipients of the David Gabbard Volunteer of the Year Award were Don and Pat Dampier, who began sampling South Elkhorn Creek in their backyard in KRWW's first year, 1997.  The couple also provided KRWW samplers with a fun, social event by hosting annual picnics to celebrate and get to know one another better.  And, to show everyone their impressive stand of cane that borders the creek in their backyard, of course!