Walton Cheney (2013 Volunteer of the Year), Roger Linville, Jimmy Orth

Volunteer of the Year – Walton Cheney

Throughout 2013, Walton Cheney has worked tirelessly, piloting the St. Johns Riverkeeper boat and helping to revitalize and reenergize our River Patrol as the Steering Committee Chair.  The River Patrol is a volunteer "river watch" program that helps us monitor water quality and habitat conditions and document and report any problems encountered.  Walton is a life-long boater and has been a member of the River Patrol since 2004. His years on the water and his passion for protecting our river make him a great advocate for St. Johns Riverkeeper. In 2013, River Patrol members spent significantly more hours on the water and submitted more online log reports than in past years. Under Walton’s leadership, the River Patrol will continue to recruit new members and expand its outreach in 2014.

Advocate of the Year – Jim Draper

Through the “Feast of Flowers” project and his previous work, Jim Draper has done a remarkable job of showcasing the beauty, majesty, and diversity of natural Florida. Jim’s paintings remind us of our connection to the natural world and our dependence upon it. His work and his words convey a powerful message about the importance of preserving and embracing the natural heritage of our state. Thousands of visitors were able to experience the "Feast of Flowers" exhibit and associated programming at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in 2013. Many were nostalgic for what Jim was able to capture. Many had never seen the beauty of the native flora and fauna that his artwork brought to life. And many more were inspired and even transformed, gaining a deeper appreciation and understanding of our natural world and the value and importance of native plants in our landscapes. Jim Draper is receiving the Advocate of the Year Award for utilizing his artistic talents to further advance our mission – to protect and preserve the St. Johns River for generations to come. Jim also previously served six years on the St. Johns Riverkeeper Board of Directors. 

Educator of the Year – St. Mark's Episcopal Day School

During the 2012-2013 school year, St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School embarked on a year-long, school-wide study of water with a special focus on the St. Johns River. The entire staff participated in a river cleanup at Reddie Point Preserve, two grade levels traveled to the Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Center to learn more about the health of the river, and the fourth grade energized the entire school community to clean up Seminole Park during the St. Johns River Celebration & Cleanup.  The school has continued this momentum into the 2013-2014 school year by participating in St. Johns Riverkeeper's River Exploration Backpack Project, an education program that provides tools and resources for educators and students to learn about the St. Johns River through water quality testing activities and experiential learning opportunities.