KENNEBUNK, Maine, June 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Rivers are an integral part of communities throughout the country, providing jobs, recreation and natural beauty. River Network today announced the 2011 Tom's of Maine River Heroes Award winners at a ceremony during the annual National River Rally conference in North Charleston, South Carolina. The awards celebrate those who have dedicated their lives to protecting the nation's water supply and their respective campaigns to do so.
"River Network is proud to partner with Tom's of Maine to support awareness of our rivers in communities all across the country," said Todd Ambs, president of the River Network, a national group of clean water advocates. "Together, we share a longtime passion for clean water and a desire to build vibrant river leaders working to preserve our precious waters for all people, wildlife and future generations."
Over the past six years, Tom's of Maine has pledged more than $1 million to help support River Network and American Rivers, the two leading river groups in the U.S.
"Tom's of Maine is honored to be involved with River Network and the heroes who have dedicated so much time and energy to protecting our waterways and the health of our communities," said Susan Dewhirst, Tom's of Maine Goodness Programs Manager. "These awards are a testament to their important work and we hope will play a part inspiring future generations to get involved and continue the good work they've started."
This year's six exceptional River Heroes honorees are:
Christopher Brown: For more than 30 years, Chris has been a champion of our nation's rivers. As the Conservation Director and Acting Executive Director with American Rivers, Chris led campaigns to protect more than 1,000 river miles and to secure $25 million in appropriations.
In 1988, Chris joined the National Park Service as Branch Chief for Technical Assistance, where he helped to create the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program and authored over a dozen publications, including Conserving Rivers: A Handbook for State Action. Additionally, Chris co-founded the Interagency Wild & Scenic Rivers Coordinating Council and served on the planning team for President Clinton's American Heritage Rivers Initiative. Chris, who retired this year, is an avid cyclist and canoeist and continues to be involved with forestry and social service. He is being honored with the James Compton Lifetime Achievement Award.
Margo Farnsworth: Margo is one of only nine Biomimicry Fellows in the world and is currently engaged in a project using biomimicry as a model to restore coastal communities. During her 10-year association with the Cumberland River Compact in Tennessee, she led the effort to be one of the first 20 grant recipients of the EPA Targeted Watershed Initiative Grant in 2003. She has worked as a naturalist, science teacher, mammalogist and park ranger. Margo is an adjunct professor at the Institute for Sustainable Practices at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN, is passionate about community engagement to support the environment and often contributes her skills to educate others about sustainability.
Bob Hunter: Bob is a founding board member and staff attorney for WaterWatch of Oregon. WaterWatch is a river conservation organization devoted to restoring and protecting natural flows in Oregon's rivers and was the first conservation organization formed specifically to address instream flow and water allocation issues in the West. Bob co-drafted Oregon's landmark Instream Water Rights Bill in 1987, is a founding board member of the Oregon Water Trust and is WaterWatch's lead person on the removal of Savage Rapids and Gold Ray Dams on Oregon's Rogue River.
James McMillan: James was born into a family of farmers who have farmed in Knox County for six generations. From the time he was a little boy, he loved the land and loved to farm, hunt and fish. In 2002, James' creek overflowed with mud from upstream developments. After numerous conversations with authorities, he was urged to make stormwater a bigger cause than just his farm. James took up the cause and has been running with it ever since. James was instrumental in starting the stormwater program at Tennessee Clean Water Network and continues to provide samples, photos and data. He works diligently and without pay to monitor sites all over Knox County, and in other nearby counties. As his knowledge grows, more and more people now call him instead of local or state authorities.
Beth Stewart: Beth has been Executive Director of the Cahaba River Society (CRS) in Birmingham, AL, since 1995. CRS's mission is to restore and protect the Cahaba River watershed and its rich diversity of life, which includes the river's globally-significant freshwater life and the diverse people of central Alabama who rely on the Cahaba watershed for drinking water. With core values of integrity, education, collaboration and stewardship, CRS is a science-based voice and partnership catalyst with a track record for engaging business, government, civic and development interests in education and collaborative projects to promote water-sustaining development. Beth also founded the Kentucky Waterways Alliance and contributes to the Society's programs on low impact development, storm water management, drinking water conservation, and faith-based care of creation.
Captain Dean A. Wilson: Dean is the executive director of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper. He came to South Louisiana in 1984, at the age of 24, from Spain, and for the next 16 years, he made his living as a commercial fisherman and hunter. Over time, Dean began to notice that pollution, illegal development, sedimentation and poor water quality were threatening the existence of his livelihood as well as those of Cajun fishing families and the countless fish and wildlife species dependent upon the basin. However, it was the clear-cutting of cypress forests for the production of mulch that made him stand up for the watery wilderness he loved. Dean found the Last Wilderness Swamp Tours, LLC to raise awareness about the plight of the basin. In 2003, he was voted Chair of the Atchafalaya Basin Committee and in 2004, Dean also helped to found the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, dedicated to protecting and restoring the environmental health and productivity of the basin.
About River Network
For 20 years, River Network has provided organizational, technical and networking assistance to people working for watershed protection at the local, state and regional levels. In addition, River Network serves as a catalyst and coordinator for major projects, such as this one, that require national leadership and collaboration among widely separated organizations and agencies. With more than 700 partner groups in all 50 states and beyond, River Network is helping build a powerful new watershed protection movement in the United States. To learn more about River Network, visit www.rivernetwork.org
About Tom's of Maine
Tom's of Maine is a leading natural care company that sells high-quality toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, deodorant, bar soap, and body wash products. Most of TOMs products are Kosher and Halal certified. The company has a long-standing commitment to supporting people, communities and the living planet. For 40 years, Tom's of Maine has sponsored hundreds of non-profit efforts by giving 10% of its profits back to the community and encouraging employees to use 5% (12 days) of employee time to volunteer. Tom's of Maine employees regularly contribute suggestions for improving the company's high sustainability standards. Their ideas, from wind power to ways to improve recycled and recyclable packaging options, are critical to the company's sensitive way of doing business. Tom's of Maine enjoys partnering with its consumers, vendors and many community organizations to support lasting, positive change that is good for the earth and us all. Visit us online at http://www.tomsofmaine.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tomsofmaine.
SOURCE Tom's of Maine