RiverWatch Volunteer Awards The Illinois RiverWatch program has benefitted from the volunteer efforts of citizen scientists and educators across the state. Over the past quarter of a century, volunteers have spent thousands of hours educating themselves and collecting data to help us understand our local rivers and streams. Without these volunteers, our program would not be what it is today. As a way to recognize the hard work of our volunteers, we are introducing the RiverWatch Volunteer Awards. These awards were created to show appreciation for our volunteers. The 2023 RiverWatch Volunteer Award Nominations are now open! Please nominate yourself or someone else using the following form. Nominate a Volunteer Rules Nominate yourself or someone you know for an award using the Riverwatch Volunteer Awards nomination form. Description and eligibility for each award is listed below. Nominations for 2023 will open Monday, November 20 and close Monday, January 1 at 10 p.m. Award winners will be selected by a panel of impartial judges. Winners will be announced by social media in mid-January. Winners and their nominators will be notified by email. See past award winners. Awards Volunteer of the Year The Volunteer of the Year award recognizes a RiverWatch citizen scientist for their commitment, leadership, and outreach associated with RiverWatch and the water resources of Illinois. Eligibility: Nominee must be a trained RiverWatch volunteer, at least 19 years of age, have sampled and submitted data for at least one site, and demonstrate at least one of the following: Has shown leadership skills through leading a team of volunteers (adults or kids). Has monitored multiple sites. Has shared their data with their colleagues, community, local government, etc. Lifetime Achievement The Lifetime Achievement award recognizes an outstanding RiverWatch citizen scientist who has volunteered with the program for 10+ years. Eligibility: Nominee must be a trained RiverWatch volunteer, at least 19 years of age, have volunteered with RiverWatch for at least 10 years, and have submitted data for at least 5 of those years. Partner Prize The Partner Prize recognizes an organization that has had a positive relationship with Illinois RiverWatch. This organization is one that has multiple RiverWatch citizen scientists, promotes the RiverWatch program, and/or shares RiverWatch’s priorities. Eligibility: Nominated organizations must have at least one of the following: Trained RiverWatch citizen scientists. Uses RiverWatch data to make a difference in their community Promotes the RiverWatch program Shares RiverWatch priorities. Young Scientist The Young Scientist award recognizes a RiverWatch volunteer who is 18 or younger that shows excellent volunteer ethic. Youth volunteers can be part of the Stream Discovery program, 4H program, or volunteer with trained citizen scientists in the regular RiverWatch program. Eligibility: Nominee must be 18 years of age or younger, have actively participated in stream sampling, and have been involved in other RiverWatch-related activities. Inspiration Award The Inspiration Award recognizes a RiverWatch participant or Stream Discovery educator whose stewardship, leadership, and outreach has directly inspired others to act to benefit Illinois rivers and streams. Eligibility: Nominee must be a trained RiverWatch volunteer, at least 19 years of age, work or volunteer as an educator (formal or informal), and demonstrate outreach and/or inspiration involving RiverWatch priorities.