Click here for a list of past winners.

About the River Celebration Awards

The Alabama Rivers Alliance devotes one evening at each Alabama Water Rally to those special organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions toward river protection in our state.

Nominations are submitted by members or organizational members of the Alabama Rivers Alliance.  This can include staff, board, or members of Rivers Alliance Partner Organizations.

River Hero Awards

The highest of the River Celebration Awards is the River Hero Award. These lifetime achievement awards are given to three passionate individuals who dedicate a significant amount of their lives to protecting our rivers, our health and our environment through building partnerships and connections, empowering citizens and/or advocating for sound water policy and enforcement.

This award is given to individuals who exemplify river stewardship and who have a rich history of advocating for the protection of Alabama’s waterways.

Nominations are submitted by members or organizational members of the Alabama Rivers Alliance. This can include staff, board or members of Alabama Rivers Alliance Partner Organizations.

James Lowery Service Award

The James Lowery Service Award is a lifetime achievement award given to exceptional individuals who have gone above and beyond in their volunteer service to their communities and Alabama’s environment.
An expansion of the “Volunteer of the Year Award,” the James Lowery Service Award was established in 2011, when the Alabama Rivers Alliance recognized James Lowery, a long-time, highly dedicated board member and volunteer for a number of environmental advocacy organizations. In recognition of James’ outstanding contributions, he was named the “Volunteer of the Decade” and the James Lowery Service Award was created in his honor.

PAST AWARD WINNERS

2016 Award Winners

Alabama Water Rally was held in conjunction with River Network’s River Rally in 2016. Therefore, the annual awards celebration was truncated. 

Group of the Year – Peninsula of Mobile

Volunteer of the Year – Tom McLeod

2015 Award Winners

  • River Hero – Paul Freeman
  • River Hero – Pete Conroy
  • River Hero – Doug Morrison
Also honored:
  • James Lowery Service Award – Marty Schulman
  • Volunteer of the Year – Sam Stokes
  • Group of the Year – Black Belt Citizens Fighting for health and Justice
  • Beyond Rivers Partner of the Year – Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network
  • Business Partner of the Year – Wolf Creek Creations

2014 Award Winners

  • River Hero – Doug Phillips
  • River Hero – Gil Rogers
  • River Hero – Miles Hart
  • James Lowery Service Award – Margo Rebar
  • Best New Group of the Year – CASE
  • Business Partner of the Year – EBSCO
  • Outstanding Group of the Year – Alabama Scenic River Trail
  • Beyond Rivers Partner of the Year – Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club

2013 Award Winners

  • River Hero – Britt Butler, ABAHAC Foundation based in Birmingham
  • River Hero – Lonnie Carden, Coosa Outdoor Center and Coosa River Paddling Club, based in Wetumpka
  • River Hero – David Whiteside, Tennessee Riverkeeper based in Decatur
  • James Lowery Service Award – Joyce Lanning, League of Women Voters and Alabama Environmental Council board member, based in Birmingham
  • Best New Group of the Year – Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice, based in Perry County
  • Business Partner of the Year – Martha Hunter and JohnnyGreenSeeds Wines, based in Blount County
  • Outstanding Group of the Year – Shoals Environmental Alliance
  • Beyond Rivers Partner of the Year – Conservation Alabama, based in Birmingham

2012 Award Winners

  • River Hero – Michael Mullen, the Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper based in Troy
  • River Hero – Bill Deutsch, Director of Alabama Water Watch, based in Auburn
  • River Hero – Casi Callaway, Mobile Baykeeper, based in Mobile
  • The James Lowery Volunteer Service Award – Jenn Patterson, Program Director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper, based in Birmingham and West AL
  • Watershed Group of the Year – Save Our Saugahatchee and Friends of Chewacla and Uphapee Creeks from the Auburn area
  • Best New Group of the Year – Coosa Riverkeeper, based in Riverside
  • Beyond Rivers Partner of the Year – The Nature Conservancy of Alabama, working statewide
  • Business Partner of the Year – Good People Brewing Company

2011 Award Winners

  • River Hero – Deb Berry
  • River Hero – April Hall
  • River Hero – Beth Young
  • Volunteer of the Decade – James Lowery
  • Best New Group of the Year – Southern Environmental Law Center Birmingham Office
  • Outstanding Group of the Year – Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper
  • Business Partner of the Year – Haynes Downard
  • Environmental Disaster Response Award – Gulf Restoration Network
  • Environmental Disaster Response Award – John Wathen
  • Environmental Disaster Response Award – Mobile Baykeeper

2010 Award Winners

  • River Hero – Nelson Brooke
  • River Hero – Wendy Seesock
  • River Hero – Mike Shelton
  • Beyond Rivers Partner of the Year – Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Best New Group of the Year  –  Rosa Mine Committee of Friends of the Locust Fork River
  • Watershed Group of the Year – Alabama Stormwater Partnership
  • Business Partner of the Year – Higher Ground Coffee Roasters
  • Volunteers of the Year – Derek Trimble and Kelly Smith

2009 Award Winners

  • River Hero – Bryan Burgess
  • River Hero – Mark Johnston
  • River Hero – David Ludder
  • Beyond Rivers Partner of the Year – Alabama Environmental Council
  • Best New Group of the Year – Friends of Big Canoe Creek
  • Watershed Group of the Year – Lake Watch of Lake Martin
  • Volunteer of the Year – Jake Rudulph

2008 Award Winners

  • River Hero – Mimi Fearn
  • River Hero – Stan Mahoney
  • River Hero – Sergio Ruiz-Cordova
  • Beyond Rivers Partner of the Year – Alabama Arise
  • New Group of the Year – Hulsey Little River Land Trust
  • Watershed Group of the Year – Mobile Baykeeper
  • Volunteer of the Year – Stephen Guesman

2007 Award Winners

  • River Hero – Richard Bronson
  • River Hero – Beth Stewart
  • River Hero – William Andreen
  • New Group of the Year – Lookout Mountain Heritage Alliance

2006 Award Winners

  • River Hero – Ann Biggs-Williams
  • River Hero – John Wathen
  • River Hero – Susan Weber
  • Watershed Group of the Year – Black Warrior Riverkeeper

2005 Award Winners

  • River Hero – Sam Howell
  • River Hero – Shane Hulsey
  • River Hero – Dan Murchison