Alabama’s river heroes

It’s a celebration!  The Alabama Rivers Alliance celebrated 20 years of river protection last weekend at Camp McDowell

Last weekend, the Alabama Rivers Alliance celebrated its 20th Anniversary by recognizing community and state “river heroes” at their annual Alabama Water Rally at Camp McDowell.

The highlight of the three day event was the River Celebration Awards Banquet which honored organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions toward river protection in Alabama.

“A lot of the work of these individuals and organizations goes largely unrecognized except in our own circles,” Cindy Lowry, executive director of Alabama Rivers Alliance, said. “We cherish the opportunity to honor their work and service with our River Celebration Awards and are proud to work alongside them.”

 The recipients of the 2017 River Celebration Awards were:

 Outstanding Group of the Year – Coosa Riverkeeper for their outstanding work protecting the Coosa River with programs like Swim Guide, Fish Guide and more.

Birmingham Alabama
Coosa Riverkeeper’s Justinn Overton and Alabama Rivers Alliance President Jenn Patterson – Photo by John Wathen / Hurricane Creekkeeper

Beyond Rivers Partner of the Year – Southern Exposure Film Fellowship program which brings emerging filmmakers from across the country to tell authentic, engaging stories through short documentary films about Alabama’s environment and the people who cherish it.

Alabama Rivers Alliance
SELC’s Keith Johnston and Alabama Rivers Alliance Executive Director Cindy Lowry – Photo by John Wathen / Hurricane Creekkeeper

The James Lowery Volunteer Service Award – Charles Scribner, executive director of the Black Warrior Riverkeeper, for his service to many environmental groups as well as Cathedral Church of the Advent, the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, Princeton University, St. Paul’s School and UAB.

Black warrior Riverkeeper Executive Director Charlie Scribner and Alabama Rivers Alliance Executive Director Cindy Lowry – Photo by John Wathen / Hurricane Creekkeeper

Business Partner of the Year – Rojo for their dedication to giving back to their community through programs such 10% Tuesday and their $1 for Water Drought Awareness program this past fall.

ARA’s Kelly Marshall, Rojo’s Laney DeJonge and Cindy Lowry – Photo by John Wathen / Hurricane Creekkeeper

 In addition to these awards, four individuals were also recognized with the lifetime achievement award of RIVER HERO. This award is given to an individual who has spent the better part of their lives working to protect and defend Alabama’s waterways.  They go above and beyond the average calling to ensure that all Alabamians can enjoy clean, healthy water and that government and industry are held accountable for enforcing water policies and polluting our waterways.

 The 2017 RIVER HEROS are:

Maggie Johnston (Camp McDowell)
ARA’s Cindy Lowry, River Hero Maggie Johnston, and Alabama Water Watch founder Dr. Bill Deutsch – Photo by John Wathen / Hurricane Creekkeeper
Angie Shugart (One World Adventure Company)
One World Adventure’s Angie Shugart and ARA’s Cindy Lowry – Photo by John Wathen / Hurricane Creekkeeper
Kirsten Bryant (GASP)
GASP’s Kirsten Bryant, Cindy Lowry and Camp McDowell’s Rev. Mark Johnston – Photo by John Wathen / Hurricane Creekkeeper
Dr. Randy Haddock (Cahaba River Society)
Cahaba River Society’s (CRS)Randy Haddock and Tricia Sheets, ARA’s Mitch Reid and Cindy Lowry and CRS Executive Director Beth Stewart – Photo by John Wathen / Hurricane Creekkeeper

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.