2015 Advocate, Matt Keene pictured with St. Johns Riverkeeper Outreach Director, Shannon Blankinship

2015 Advocate
Matt Keene

As an explorer, filmmaker, and journalist, Keene is able to tell first-hand stories of environmental, social justice and counter-culture issues, particularly those affecting his home state of Florida. Keene’s multimedia project, River be dammed–a 17-minute mini-documentary and 10,000-word investigation on the Kirkpatrick (Rodman) Dam in north-central Florida has triggered renewed energy for the restoration of the Ocklawaha River. Keene has utilized his talents and skills to advocate for Florida waterways in an innovative, professional and ongoing basis. In 2011, Keene and kayaking partner Ryan Cantey paddled the entire length of the St. Johns River to bring awareness to Florida’s ecosystem, aquifer, and recreational opportunities, with funds raised donated to St. Johns Riverkeeper. While new projects continue to develop, Keene’s passion for the St. Johns and Ocklawaha continue to feed into his work. He is regularly invited to speak at environmental events, seminars, rallies and workshops and is an incredible advocate for Florida’s water. 

2015 Volunteer of the Year
James Taylor

As a steering committee member for the Rising Tides, young professionals of St. Johns Riverkeeper for the last two years, Taylor has volunteered countless hours and championed new and exciting initiatives for the group. Spearheading the McCoys Creek Health Workshop that combined findings from the 2015 River Report and the work Rising Tides are doing to clean up McCoys Creek, Taylor continues to educate and inspire. Taylor has used his career as a Coordinator with the UNF Environmental Center to energize students to attend and participate in cleanups, kayak trip and camping trips with St. Johns Riverkeeper. Taylor has also brought UNF professionals into our events to help with invasive species identification and control and grow an interest in arts on the water. This year, Taylor was a part of the St. Johns Riverkeeper Strategic Planning Team, dedicating his time to ensure SJRK continues to work as effectively as possible. In addition, Taylor continues to create intern programs that will help area environmental organizations benefit from diligent student initiatives. Taylor continuously works to get students on area waterways through the St. Johns River Spring Break TLO program and educational boat trips with St. Johns Riverkeeper. We are glad to have you on our team, James! 

2015 Educator of the Year
Christ the King Catholic School

It is with great excitement that St. Johns Riverkeeper is naming Christ the King Catholic School as their 2015 Educator of the Year for all efforts made to educate students about the St. Johns River. Under the leadership of Suzette Gagnon, students have been studying water quality, wildlife, and erosion on Strawberry Creek for over 3 years. Her classes have also led efforts to clean up the creek during the annual St. Johns River Celebration. Through the Strawberry Creek study, Christ the King Catholic School has demonstrated how a group of dedicated students and their teacher can encourage environmental awareness among their peers and help facilitate positive change in their community. 

Special Thank You to Richard Auger for donating the images and Gallery Framery for donating the framing for our Riverkeeper Award Recipients.