SEATTLE, Wash. — Washington State University Extension’s Beach Watchers program was this year’s meritorious winner of the Education and Public Service award from the national Universities Council on Water Resources. The award was presented at the group’s national conference in Seattle on July 15. Don Meehan accepted the prestigious award for WSU and was joined by Chrys Bertolotto, the Snohomish County WSU Beach Watcher coordinator.
“This is fuel in the tank for the nearly 1,000 volunteers we have on board helping to educate our Puget Sound community about cleaning up Puget Sound and saving the life that depends on clean waters,” said Don Meehan, WSU Extension program director for natural resources stewardship.
Professor Michael Barber, director of the State of Washington Water Research Center, nominated the program.
“This was a terrific opportunity to be able to recognize and highlight the efforts made on behalf of Puget Sound as a showcase for the nation” Barber said.
Beach Watchers volunteers engage in a myriad of watershed activities in their communities surrounding the Puget Sound, ranging from supporting scientific research by counting spring juvenile salmon populations and monitoring the health of the intertidal zones of local beaches, to supporting environmental studies in local schools and educating the public about the fragility of local beaches and intertidal zones. They test water quality, monitor shellfish for signs of paralytic shellfish poisoning and maintain a Web site about the Puget Sound marine environment as a resource for the general public.
UCOWR consists of more than 90 member universities and organizations throughout the world. Each member university appoints up to eight faculty or staff to help achieve the group’s main objectives:
- Facilitating water-related education at all levels
- Promoting meaningful research and technology transfer on contemporary and emerging water resources issues
- Compiling and disseminating information on water problems and solutions, and
- Informing the public about water issues with the objective of promoting informed decisions at all levels of society.