March 9, 2015


This past Saturday, March 7, 2015 DRBA celebrated 13 years of protecting and promoting the natural and cultural resources of the Dan River Basin at our Annual Celebration in South Boston, VA. Those in attendance enjoyed good company, delicious food courtesy of the DRBA Hospitality Committee, informative staff and guest presentations highlighting the great work going on around the basin, and a beautiful hike along the Tobacco Heritage Trail.

While DRBA's Annual Celebration is a chance to showcase our great work and achievements of the past year, we could not achieve any of that success without the help of community partners, volunteers, and other Dan River advocates and supporters. It is for this very reason that we hold our DRBA Awards Presentation each year at the Annual Celebration as well. This years award winners are as follows:

Partnership Award – Averett University 

Since 2011, we have been working with Averett’s Biology Department through an internship agreement – Professors Dr. James Caldwell and Laura Meder send a student with a background in science or environmental studies (usually a junior or senior) to intern with DRBA for most of the school year. 

In 2011, an intern worked in Caswell County with Chad Hall, Caswell Program Manager at the time, on environmental education.  This intern is now a teacher at Magna Vista High and participates in TIC.

In 2012, 2013, and 2014 interns were provided to assist Education Manager/TIC Coordinator Krista Hodges with DRBA's Trout in the Classroom program, helping with transportation of supplies, trout releases, Trout N About, etc.

In 2014-2015, this partnership became stronger as Averett supplied an intern (Kenneth Elliott) to help Program Coordinator Amy Farinelli and Krista Hodges with the first ever citizen water quality monitoring program in Danville, VA.  Kenneth collects all samples from volunteers and processes them in Averett’s lab at designated work station assigned specifically for our program. Averett is also allowing us the use of some of their supplies, including an incubator and fridge to process and hold samples and media.

Averett students have also contributed as volunteers for trail cleanups and event set up during annual Day to Engage events in Danville, VA during 2013 and 2014.

Corporate Partner Award – MillerCoors 

MillerCoors partnership with DRBA started in 2007 as a corporate donor. In 2009, the Miller Coors Stewardship Day was started and they did a tree planting and access restoration at Island Ford. In 2010 they did the same at Leaksville Landing.

In 2011 MillerCoors volunteers completed a walking path and butterfly garden at the Smith River Greenway/Island Ford Landing in Eden, NC. In 2012 close to 60 volunteers participated in Rockingham County's NC Big Sweep Event, cleaning up 2-miles of the Smith River and 1.5 mile clean-up of the Smith River Greenway  in Eden, NC.

In 2013 MillerCoors further strengthened their partnership with DRBA by hosting an Earth Day Celebration for all of their employees during the week of April 22 in addition to their continued participation and cleanup during the NC Big Sweep, where they pulled close to 1,500 pounds of trash out of the river and park. The Earth Day Celebration included a presentation about local challenges to our rivers, local watershed activities that employees can get involved in and a party to celebrate MillerCoors efforts to protect and preserve the environment and water.

Volunteer Awards

Volunteers are the life blood of DRBA.  As we celebrate the 13th year of DRBA, we also celebrate some of the many outstanding volunteers and partners who make DRBA highly respected and successful. Unfortunately, due to prior commitments these amazing individuals were not in attendance, a.k.a no pictures!

Service to DRBA Award – Kurt and Norma Bozenmayer

Kurt and Norma relocated to the Dan River Basin from New Jersey and have continued their love for the outdoors by participating in a variety of DRBA activities.  Staffing festival booths, enjoying the First Saturday Outings, helping with river cleanups, contributing artwork to the Art in Nature Auction and participating in DRBA’s water quality sampling efforts are just some of their DBRA volunteer activities.  Thank you, Kurt and Norma!     

Volunteer of the Year Award – Patty Williams

Patty's service to DRBA is outstanding.  She has worked alongside DRBA staff and volunteers at so many events and activities they are too many to count.  Involvement at all levels of planning, staffing any spot needing someone, helping with set-up, with clean-up and with break-down, Patty serves DRBA far above and beyond the ordinary with time and effort, and has become our ambassador, promoting DRBA to all. Thank you, Patty!

The Spirit of the Dan River Basin Award – The DRBA Staff! 

We were stunned, deeply moved, and honored to receive this years Spirit of the Dan River Basin Award. 2014 threw many obstacles our way, including the most devastating environmental disaster the basin has ever seen, and we surprised ourselves with how effectively and efficiently we were able to handle it. We were able to assume our roles as protectors and advocates for the river as we fielded media and public questions about the spill and immediately increased water quality monitoring and assessments of areas affected. All the while, we continued our normal operations without missing a beat. We share this honor with our board – none of the great things DRBA does could be accomplished without all of us working together.

Thank you to all of our members, supporters, partners, and volunteers for another great year!