By Tray Wetherell
With its efforts to help improve and research environmental impacts on river watersheds, the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) has been chosen along with four other organizations as one of the recipients of the 2011 U.S. Water Prize. Since the dedication of the Jerry Costello Confluence Field Station last year, the NGRREC has been utilizing support from Federal, State, and Local interests to research, restore, and improve area watersheds and rivers in the region.
The prize, awarded by the Clean Water American Alliance, recognizes organizations that are making advancements in sustainable solutions to national water challenges. Prize recipients will be honored in a ceremony on May 9 in Washington, D.C. According to a press release issued by the Clean Water American Alliance “the National Great Rivers Research & Education Center (Alton, Ill.) is mobilizing volunteer communities around the confluence of two rivers and creating a national and international center for science, education and public outreach. “ explained Alliance President Ben Grumbles, “These five water champions reflect the diversity of America and set a shining example for innovating, integrating, and collaborating from coast to coast to sustain America’s most precious liquid asset,”
Formed in 2002, the NGRREC works in cooperation with several entities researching the environment along the Mississippi River region, educate people about environmental concerns and pollution, and restore environmentally impacted areas. According to the NGRREC website, “Educators engage citizens in river science and stewardship through workshops, continuing education classes, and programs for teachers and students to help them understand the complex issues that surround river ecosystems.” In regards to education, the NGRREC has an intimate relationship with Lewis & Clark Community College working in partnership with the college on its environmental sustainability research, and teaching classes at Lewis & Clark offering specializations in environmental studies that makes Lewis & Clark a unique learning experience for those students that wish to pursue a career in regional environmental studies.
Interested in learning more about environmental sustainability and helping the wetlands around the area, the NGRREC has a program designed for volunteers who would like to learn more about rivers and streams as well as aid scientists in research. More information can be found at www.ngrrec.org. If you are interested in what Lewis & Clark is doing to help the environment visit their environmental sustainability site at www.lc.edu/discover/greenInitiative. For more information on The Clean Water America Alliance, visit their web site at www.cwaa.us.