The Alabama Water Watch Association (AWWA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to support the goals of the AWW Program. Throughout the coming months we would like to introduce you to the AWWA Board of Directors and help citizens gain a better understanding of the purpose and mission of the AWWA through a series of blog articles. You can also learn more about AWWA and supporting its mission by visiting www.alabamawaterwatch.org/get_involved/donate.html or contacting one of our Board Members (contact information listed here: www.alabamawaterwatch.org/about/board.html .Let’s start with Mike Kensler, AWWA President:
Hi, I am Mike Kensler, and I live in Auburn, Alabama. I am employed by Auburn University where I serve as Director of the Office of Sustainability.
I grew up in Michigan and Florida and I was always fortunate to live near lots of beautiful water. In the northwest corner of Lower Michigan I enjoyed Lake Michigan and nearly countless inland lakes and streams. In Ft. Lauderdale, the Atlantic, the Everglades, and the Florida Keys were all nearby. Both places had a strong influence.
When we moved to Auburn six years ago I was surprised to find Alabama so rich in rivers and streams and bays, not to mention aquatic biodiversity. It meant I was able to canoe and kayak in some spectacular places.
I was introduced to Alabama Water Watch (AWW) shortly after arriving in Auburn when I met Bill Deutsch, co-founder and Director of AWW. At the time I was working for the Auburn University Water Resources Center. I shared with Bill that I have a passion for citizen-based water quality monitoring and activism, first sparked in graduate school.
It wasn’t long before I was partnering with AWW on watershed projects and some river floats, and not much longer before I joined the Alabama Water Watch Association and became a member of the Alabama Water Watch Association Board of Directors.
I joined AWW because I am convinced that informed and engaged citizens must be involved if we are to succeed in responsibly caring for the natural world that sustains all life on Earth, and because AWW does an excellent job developing and nurturing informed and engaged citizens.
Every particular interest group has a voice, but our lakes, rivers, streams, and watersheds, and the plants and animals that live there, have no voice. Those in the best position to speak for the special places we care about are the informed and active citizens who live in those communities. I believe AWW gives our special places a voice through the dedicated citizens who are out there monitoring, educating, restoring, and advocating for responsible stewardship.
What I enjoy most about my experiences with Alabama Water Watch is getting to know and interact with the staff, other board members, and especially the citizens around the state who have joined AWW in the effort to create a better future.
What a great group of people: passionate, committed, friendly, generous of spirit, interested in contributing to the wellbeing of today and tomorrow, people with a civic sense who want to make a difference. And in the short six years I’ve been in Auburn, I’ve seen people make a significant difference as a result of their efforts with Water Watch.
I encourage anyone who cares about Alabama’s rich heritage of rivers, streams, lakes, and bays, anyone who cares about the kind of world our children and grandchildren will live in, anyone who wants to make a meaningful difference, to get involved with Alabama Water Watch. There are lots of ways to get involved:
- Join the Alabama Water Watch Association and add your voice to the chorus of people who want to make sure our natural heritage is not squandered, but restored and protected.
- Become trained as a citizen monitor and watch over your special place.
- Get connected with other caring people in your community who also want to make a difference.
- Become knowledgeable about the issues and help educate others so that we can make informed decisions about how best to care for our communities.
My involvement with Alabama Water Watch has been both fun and rewarding, and I can’t think of a better recommendation than that.