Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Freshwater Heroes Award Recipients

Recognizing Grassroots Advocates

Protecting and restoring the health of the lakes, rivers, wetlands, shorelines in our Great Lakes region requires hard work, persistence, and dedication. Your efforts are inspirational and motivational. In honor of this Herculean effort, annually Freshwater Future gives out awards to recognize special contributions of residents and organizations.


Please join us as we applaud our Grassroots Advocate Award winners and may their stories give you hope and a boost to continue your work.

2022 Freshwater Hero Awards

Jannan Cornstalk, Water is Life 
Sterling Water Stewards, NY
Williams County Alliance, OH
Environment North, ON
In Memory of Amanda Jo Robinson
Just Transition Northwest Indiana
Nate Smith, MI
S.O. H2O, WI
Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
In Memory of Ted Frey
Trent Stark, Freshwater Future Board

2021 Freshwater Hero Awards
Watch recording of celebration here

Ruth O’Gawa, Great Lakes Advocate, MI and CA
Friends of Black River Forest, WI 
Maria Maybee, Water Walker 
Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, Ontario
Families Reclaiming Our Environment (FROE)
Reverend Edward Pinkney, Benton Harbor Water Council 
Melanie Napoleon Welch, Freshwater Future Board 
Thomas Knott, Freshwater Future Board
Adam Parker, Freshwater Future Board
In Memory of Bev Dale

2020 Freshwater Hero Awards

Corrine Armistead, Earth Economics
Jeff Whitelow, Bright Neighborhood Community Development
Karen Reinbold, Freshwater Future Board
Mike Harris, Flint Development Center and Community Lab
Jerry Holycross, Thermo Fisher Scientific
Concerned Citizens of Butler and Beyond
Need Our Water (NOW)
Hold Erie Coke Accountable
Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation
Coalition to SAVE the Menominee and Mining Action Group
Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour, Ontario
In Memory, David Spangler, Lake Erie Charter Boat Captain
In Memory, Michele Wheeler, Bad River Wisconsin
Volunteer Extraordinaire, Nancy Staley
Toledo Water Council

2019 Freshwater Hero Awards

Mary Alice Adams, Commissioner of Benton Harbor
A.J. Birkbeck, Michigan PFAS Alliance
Peggy Case, Michigan Citizens of Water Conservation
Naomi Davis, BIG (Blacks in Green)
Tim Veverica
Shelly Sparks, Flint Development Center
Canadian Journalists (For Lead in Water Investigation)
April Weppler, Fresh Water Protector
Tony Maas, Manager, Strategies

2018 Freshwater Hero Awards

Sean Nestor
Sarahi Mercado
Rev. Edward Pinkney
The Minnesota Divison of Izaak Walton League of America
The Couchiching Conservancy
We the Youth of Detroit
Chris Grubb
Holly Hughes
Marya Czech
Josephine Mandamin
Mama Lila Cabbil

2017 Freshwater Hero Awards

Sylvia Orduño
Kathleen Heideman
Monica Lewis-Patrick
Linda Heron
Evelyn Stone
Matt Meersman
Lee Botts
Tracey Shafroth

2016 Freshwater Hero Awards

Wellington Water Watchers
Front 40
San Juana “Juani” Olivares
Hank Saunders
Gary Belan
John Jackson
Dan McDermott
Geoff Peach

2015 Awards

Ontario Water Centre
Kristy Meyer
Deborah Dorsey
Nancy Staley
Farms Not Factories
Lee Willbanks
Bonnie Danni

2014 Awards

Amy Jo Smith
Stacey Smith
Concerned Citizens of Big Bay
Mike Layton

2013 Awards

Bev Warner
Margo Milde
Highway J Citizens’ Group
Barbara King

2012 Awards

Laura Gauger, Citizen Advocate
Cayuga Lake Watershed Network
Irene Phelps, Volunteer
Jan Deur, Board Member

2010 Awards

Diane Hofner, CROP Plus
Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve
Cool Learning Experience
Annoesjka Steinman, Board Member

2009 Awards

Sandy Bihn, Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association
Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance

2008 Award

Mary Jo Cullen, Gravel Watch Ontario

2007 Awards

April Fideli, Residents for Responsible Government
Janet May, Pesticide Free Ontario

2006 Awards

Susie Schreiber, Waukegan Harbor Area of Concern Public Advisory Group

2005 Award

Judy Treml, Citizen Advocate

2004 Awards

Don Griffin, Friends of the Detroit River
Edith Chase, Ohio Coastal Resources Management Project