Each year, the Illinois River Watershed Partnership honors leaders in watershed stewardship and natural resource conservation in the Illinois River Watershed. Six Golden Paddle Awards are given annually to individuals or entities that exemplify excellent stewardship in the protection, preservation, and enhancement of the watershed. Groups and individuals are nominated for each of our six stakeholder categories: Agriculture, Business, Conservation, Construction, Government & the Technical/Research/Education fields. Volunteers are also nominated for the Ron & Jennifer Michaels Volunteer of the Year Award, which goes to a group or individual that exemplifies volunteerism for the Illinois River Watershed.

Congratulations to our 2015 Golden Paddle Award winners! On October 14, 2015, they were honored during the evening of celebration held at Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, Ark.

 Ag Don MayerAGRICULTURE: Dynamic Dairy, Bentonville

Don and Mary Mayer

Business Mars Wrigley


Alison Fox-Carney Jones, Sr. Logistics; Harvey Millar, Vice President; Matt Tice, Sr. Category Manager

Conservation WCRC

CONSERVATIONWatershed Conservation Resource Center

Sandi Formica & Matt VanEps


 CONSTRUCTIONHHT Design & Professional Landscape

Hank Thomas & Keith Hunter


EDUCATION: Helen Tyson Middle School E.A.S.T.

Brittany Berry, E.A.S.T Facilitator


GOVERNMENT: Arkansas Forestry Commission

Patti Erwin, Urban Forestry Coordinator

Volunteers of Year Johnsons


Hal and Vicki Johnson, Arkansas Master Naturalists

For more information about how to nominate a group or person that you think is a leader in conservation, please visit our website to learn more.