2023 Watershed Excellence and Landscape Ecology Awards

On Thursday, November 16th, we recognized exemplary champions of water resources in the district at the 2023 Watershed Excellence and LEAP (Landscape Ecology Awards Program) Awards. Four properties from around the district received LEAP awards for their breathtaking rain gardens, shoreline restorations, prairie restorations, and native pocket plantings. Additionally, seven individuals received a Watershed Excellence Award for their years of tireless restoration work, watershed education, community leadership in the environmental field, and research.

LEAP Award Winners

Linda Jones and Sri Sidabathuni

Maplewood Prairie Farm Preserve

Lee and Paul Bauer

Laura Heaslip, Mark Nelson, and Ryan Nelson

Watershed Excellence Award winners

Craig Andresen – Craig’s commitment extends to managing natural communities and preserving plants that enhance bird, pollinator, and wildlife habitats. Collaborating with RWMWD and Sentence to Serve work crews, Craig achieves significant conservation milestones while aiding crew members in community reintegration.

Nick Gasho –  Nick, a 4th-grade teacher at L’Etoile du Nord French Immersion School, has led over 350 students in watershed-focused service-learning projects since 2009. His efforts span native plantings, invasive plant removal, litter clean-ups, Adopt-a-Drain campaigns, water quality monitoring, and educational displays for WaterFest.

Mark Maloney- When he was serving as a public works director at Shoreview he collaborated with RWMWD to propel the city into sustainability leadership and water conservation. A pioneer in adopting innovative technologies, Mark consistently supported initiatives addressing water quality, green infrastructure, and community resilience.

Koreena Moua  As the Eastside Boys & Girls Club program director, Koreena has partnered with RWMWD to instill a deep appreciation for wetlands. Her initiatives include creating a rain garden, a permeable-pavers parking lot, neighborhood clean-ups, and youth art sculptures, all funded by RWMWD.

Konrad Schmidt – Even in retirement, Fisheries Biologist Konrad Schmidt tirelessly works to enhance habitat and fish population diversity. Investing personal time and resources, Konrad conducts vital fish research in RWMWD, the metro area, and the state, addressing gaps left by public agencies.

Kathy Sidles –  St. Paul Parks Volunteer and Master Naturalist Kathy Sidles epitomizes stewardship through countless hours devoted to park and trail maintenance, litter removal, invasive species eradication, and spreading the conservation message. She has mainly focused her conservation message as of late around the endangered Rusty Patch Bumblebee. Much of her impactful work centers on RWMWD parks and open spaces.

Dr. Pam Skinner – Roger Lake Stewardship Excellence Awardee: Serving on the RWMWD Board of Managers since 1994, Dr. Pam Skinner encourages a thoughtful and scientific approach to the organization’s work. Her dedicated service, commitment, guidance, enthusiasm, and forward-thinking vision have enriched the board for nearly three decades.