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1404 Goodale Boulevard, Suite 100
Columbus, OH 43212
Phone: (614) 486-9613
Fax: (614) 486-9614

Great Blue Heron Awards

The Great Blue Heron Award recognizes outstanding contributions in natural resources and stream protection within Franklin County. Franklin Soil and Water recognizes the importance of partnerships to the sustainability and success of its mission to protect and improve soil and water resources. We are proud to be able to recognize so many great communities and individuals with this award.

The Great Blue Heron is awarded to individuals/organizations at any time throughout the year that is a strong supporter, innovator or implementer of natural resource conservation and has received a nomination form. Candidates can be a corporation, local government, or an individual.

2022 Awardees

Fred Milan Water Quality Specialist with Del-Co Water was nominated by the FLOW Science Committee for stepping up during the pandemic, when many partners were unavailable, to pick up equipment, deliver it to tree planting sites, unload trees and pre-auger the holes they were planted in.

Ethan Simmons of the Ohio Division of Wildlife was nominated by the FLOW Science Committee for his commitment to the restoration of Sawmill Wetlands State Education Area.

James Arden Rensel of Columbus City Schools was nominated by the FLOW Science Committee for working with school administrators and his team to plant trees and native plants on school grounds.  


Who Nominates?

Franklin Soil and Water staff can make a nomination at any time throughout the year. We also accept nominations from partner communities, groups, or individuals that we worked with on conservation projects or ideas. We do not accept nominations at this time from the general public for awards. If you have a possible candidate for a Great Blue Heron award that we worked with you on, please contact the staff member you coordinated with to request the nomination.

Congratulations to our past Great Blue Heron Awardees


  • Intek Inc.- For being a six-year member of our Water Quality Partner Program 

  • Jeff Bracken of Westerville North High School - For his outstanding conservation ethic and commitment to sharing his love of gardening and the environment through curated chemistry lessons. His efforts, not only in the classroom, but through the school’s garden and food security programs, have gone above and beyond by engaging students and providing a valuable program for the community.

  • Karla Genger-Nowak of Friends of Upper Arlington Park -  For her commitment to invasive species removal in parks throughout Upper Arlington. Between coordinating volunteers, park employees, and making sure the programs were a success, her efforts have helped nature flourish in the community.


  • Jefferson Township - Jefferson Township has been a longtime supporter of Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District and has prided itself on its conservation ethic. Most recently, it used a Franklin Soil and Water mini-grant to install a pond buffer, installed a rain garden at the Fire Station and provided match money for a 319 grant that we implemented to install a creek restoration project on township property.

  • Chris Lutmerding - Has been recognized for her outstanding volunteer work and willingness to share her artistic talents to promote our educational projects with joy and enthusiasm through our SWIFTlet activities and coloring pages. Each week she dedicated time to create coloring pages to go with each of the SWIFTlets themes for both children and adults to enjoy. Always up to the challenge, her actions and efforts have not gone unnoticed as we received many compliments on our SWIFTlet coloring pages from educators, students, and teachers!

  • Rebecca Grady - Recognized for her outstanding work as a volunteer for the Westerville Brooke Run Rain Gardens. In 2020, volunteer activity and public service availability to this initiative has been limited due to the pandemic. The rain gardens are usually jointly maintained by Franklin County Master Gardeners, Franklin Soil and Water, and Westerville Public Service Department. Since early spring, Rebecca graciously volunteered her own time to care for Brook Run's five public rain gardens going above and beyond regular maintenance (pruning, weeding, and sediment clearing)

Please contact Jennifer Fish with any additional requests.