2018 Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2018 Elizabeth Thorndike Environmental Excellence Award winners. The Awards recognize individuals, organizations and projects that have made significant contributions to the Genesee RiverWatch Mission. The awards were presented at the Genesee River Bash on Saturday, September 29, 2018.

Dr. Richard A. Young  is a Distinguished Service Professor of Geological Sciences at SUNY Geneseo. Dr. Young supports Genesee RiverWatch’s mission through his lifetime of work contributing to understanding the glacial history, geomorphology, erosion, sediment transport and groundwater patterns of the Genesee River valley.  Dr. Young freely provides his geologic expertise to assist local scientific and environmental organizations and individuals and is Vice President of Science for the Rochester Committee for Scientific Information (RCSI).

Juliana Lanz is our youngest award winner. Julia is a 5th grader (age 10) who loves living things and our environment and takes action to support the causes she believes in. After attending the Genesee River Bash last year, Juliana was so intrigued by the story of the lake sturgeon restoration program presented by Dr. Jeff Wyatt that she prepared a school paper on her own – that wasn’t a homework assignment – then presented it to her 4th grade class. Juliana also decided she wanted to contribute to Genesee RiverWatch. After some consideration, she set up a table to sell lemonade on behalf of Genesee RiverWatch. The lemonade stand was very successful as she wound up earning $60, which she donated to Genesee RiverWatch!

Sara Scott is the Program Development Specialist for Rochester’s Department of Recreation and Youth Services. Under Sara’s guidance, the City hosts monthly guided paddle events on the Genesee River from Seth Green Island to Rochester’s Harbor. Most of the individuals attending these paddle events do not have the equipment necessary to explore the river on their own. Many also lack the paddling skills to feel confident undertaking such a trip and, thus, would never do so. Sara manages all the logistics and provides guides skilled in paddling and knowledgeable of river lore. By organizing these events, Sara has developed a mechanism to “connect people to the river”.

Chris Widmaier is an experienced science educator in the Rochester City School District who has taught at Wilson Magnet High School for four years and World of Inquiry School for nine years. Chris’s work as an educator focuses on deeper learning, teacher leadership and student empowerment in and out of the classroom. Chris brings those skills and leadership to his work with Genesee RiverWatch’s Aquatic Educator Network where he is encouraging and helping educators and students to personally experience the beauty of the Genesee River and become committed to its future. Chris is currently studying Management at RIT in the Saunders College of Business with the goal of creating a place for everyone to develop deeper connections with their world and those around them.

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