The AWW family mourns the loss of Marty Schulman: AWW monitor extraordinaire, mentor, celebrated naturalist, biodiversity warrior, and friend.
Marty volunteered with AWW and many other environmentally focused organizations including Ruffner Mountain and the Alabama Rivers Alliance. Besides monitoring our waters, he took the time to educate others, especially young people, to get involved with local watershed stewardship efforts.
In 2016, AWW was honored to award Marty with the Biodiversity Guardian Award, which is now known as the Schulman Biodiversity Guardian Award.
Marty was the recipient of the coveted 2015 Alabama Rivers Alliance James Lowery Service Award for his service as an Alabama Water Watch monitor on behalf of US Fish and Wildlife Service at three of the five known Watercress Darter habitats that exist worldwide.
After being trained and certified as an AWW monitor, Marty faithfully monitored water quality at darter habitats in the Birmingham area for nearly a decade beginning in 2008. As a devoted member of the Watercress Darter Monitoring Program, he contributed over 500 records from 11 sites to the AWW database. He received the Mullen Award for the second consecutive year in 2016 for submitting the most AWW data records during those years!
Marty was also instrumental in the effort to bring the Endangered Species Mural Project to Birmingham, the result of which is a breathtaking mural that brings awareness for the need to protect this beautiful creature – the Watercress Darter.
In Marty’s words: “Besides us humans, there’s a broad spectrum of aquatic and terrestrial life that share our clean water needs; so there’s a common requirement for clean water that doesn’t put human interests above the other critters that we live with.”
Long-time AWW Volunteer Trainer, Hana Berres, was one of Marty’s closest friends. She shared with us that she had heard Marty say many times what an honor it was to not only receive the Biodiversity Award from AWW, but for the award to be named after him. She said that he considered it one of the greatest achievements in his life, and the day the award was given to him touched him greatly. He hung his award in his apartment and looked at it daily.
The AWW Program would not be what it is today without amazing volunteers like Marty. He lived his passion, and had a kind and fun loving spirit that was contagious. He will be missed by so many! We are lucky to have known him, and hope that we can continue to do good work that would make him proud.