2020 AWW Volunteer Awards

Congratulations to our 2019-2020 AWWard Winners! Thank you all for your dedication, enthusiasm, and incredible contributions to the AWW Program. You are an integral part of our team!

The Mullen Award for Monitor of the Year Award recognizes the volunteer monitor who submitted the most water data records in the past year. A few years ago, we named this award the Mullen Award because when it comes to collecting water data, no one can ever beat Mike and Alice Mullen!  This year, Mike submitted 325 records. His wife and monitoring partner Alice joined collecting 104!

It is an honor and privilege to announce the 2020 Mullen Award winner is Janne Debes who submitted a total of 142 records. This is the third, consecutive year Janne has received this award.

Janne was first certified as an AWW monitor in December 2016. She has since become a dedicated monitor with sincere enthusiasm for the protection and restoration of Alabama’s waters.

She spends time in both Auburn and Lake Martin, and is part of the Save Our Saugahatchee, Lake Watch of Lake Martin and the US Forest Service Tuskegee monitoring groups. We are very thankful that Ms. Debes is part of the AWW team. She serves as a constant reminder to be thankful for even the smallest things in life, and to use what we are given to make a difference. It is the action, not the fruit of the action, that is important. Recently, she detected a leaking sewer line in Auburn, and through her patience and persistence she was able to work with the City of Auburn to resolve the situation. She is a great example of what Water Watchers can do in their own communities. Way to go, Janne!

We would also like to recognize the top 3 AWW Monitoring Groups who have submitted the most data records this year.  Over the years, 334 groups have been a part of AWW.  Some have monitored for 25+ years and some have come and gone. This past year, we have added 6 new groups, including our US Forest Service group, one 4-H group, and others.  From these 6, new groups almost 100 records have already been sent!  These are our top groups for this past year, who have all sent in 100 or more records.  The top two have sent in over 400 each. 

RSVP/Marshall County

Coastal Plain Streams Water Watch

Dog River Clearwater Revival

The Trainer of the Year Award recognizes the AWW Volunteer Trainer who has conducted the most workshops over the past year.

The 2020 AWW Trainer of the Year is Mimi Fearn who conducted 23 workshops this year, bringing her overall total of workshops conducted to 105 over the 19 years she’s been a Volunteer Trainer!

Mimi has been involved with AWW as a volunteer monitor since 1998. She became a Water Chemistry Monitoring Trainer in 2001 and a Bacteriological Monitoring Trainer in 2017. Mimi was an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of South Alabama for many years before her retirement. She incorporated AWW into her classroom, introducing hundreds of students to the importance of water monitoring through the years. In retirement, she has amped up her training and monitoring activity with AWW and has led a water monitoring “revival” for her home watershed group, the Dog River Clearwater Revival. Mimi is an excellent instructor and also serves as a great “technical” resource person for AWW. Thanks for your hard work at protecting and restoring water quality, one workshop at a time.

The Emerging Trainer Award is a new award this year that recognizes a new Volunteer Trainer who has shown outstanding dedication to AWW. We are excited to recognize Jackie McGonigal as the first Emerging Trainer of the Year!

Since her initial Training of Trainers Workshop in August 2018, Jackie has conducted a total of 20  workshops, which is an impressive accomplishment!

Jackie started with AWW as a Volunteer Monitor in 2017 with Wolf Bay Watershed Watch, and under the mentorship of two veteran monitors within the group, Leslie Gahagan, and Homer Singleton, a long-time Volunteer Trainer.

Jackie has earned a Master’s in Biology with a concentration in Community-Based Conservation Education, which has helped her empower citizens within their local watershed by training and certifying them through AWW. Her passion for watershed stewardship and education is evident in everything she does! Jackie’s involvement in Alabama Water Watch has had a tremendous impact on our program, and we are thankful for her partnership! We are looking forward to many more years of collaboration with Jackie.

The 4-H Alabama Water Watcher of the Year Award recognizes the youth monitors who have gone above and beyond with the involvement with the AWW Program. We are excited to recognize Zoe Nye with this award!

Zoe is a recent graduate of Ardmore High School which is located at the very top of Alabama on the border with TN in Limestone County. She was first trained as a Water Monitor with the Ardmore Naturalist Club in January 2017.

 The Ardmore Naturalist Club has been recognized statewide for its excellence in teaching youth about the importance of environmental conservation. Zoe has been an Alabama 4-H Ambassador for two years and has participated in many 4-H events throughout her highschool career. Pursuing her passions in things such as Alabama Water Watch led to opportunities to help found a nature studies program at her school and compete in the Envirothon competition. Zoe says, “4-H has changed my life. I don’t ever think I’ll be able to thank 4-H enough because without this club, this family, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

Zoe plans to attend Mississippi State University in the fall and major in Conservation Biology. We are looking to bright students like Zoe to shape our future! Her ambition, intelligence, and leadership are going to shape our world in amazing ways.

Thank you to our 2020 AWWard winners, we love working with you all!