Once a teacher, always a teacher and Mary Jo Cullen has taught us many things— work hard for what you believe in; be creative; ask questions; ask for help; do not give up; and be nice. But most of all Mary Jo has taught us how to be great advocates for water and the environment. Freshwater Future is pleased to award the 2009 Grassroots Citizen Advocate Award to Mary Jo Cullen for her dedication and work to protect the Great Lakes.
As a citizen advocate, Mary Jo has helped Citizens Concerned for Michipicoten Bay’s effort to protect the largest undeveloped stretch of Lake Superior from an aggregate mining project. Mary Jo’s energy and enthusiasm helped draw international attention and involvement of artists, authors, and famous leaders. Her knowledge and expertise working on issues around Lake Superior also lead her to share her skills with Gravel Watch Ontario. There she has served on the Board and helped coordinate speakers for their events.
Freshwater Future has been fortunate to have Mary Jo serve on our Board of Directors for the past three years and serve two years as the Fundraising Committee Chair. There she has shared her leadership skills and shined as a fundraiser—helping us transition to an independent organization with an active Board and solid financials.
As a teacher, Mary Jo taught French and special education. As an advocate, she has taught people around Lake Superior and Lake Ontario about how we can all play a role in protecting these Great Lakes. An avid paddler (both kayak and canoe), we thank Mary Jo for her service and hope her years ahead are filled with many wonderful paddling adventures on the Great Lakes.