Riverkeeper wins third annual WHRO Community Impact Award

Published 11:34 am Monday, March 28, 2011

FRANKLIN—Jeff Turner, founder and director of the Blackwater-Nottoway Riverkeeper Program, has received the 2011 Community Impact Award in the Environmental category from Hampton Roads public television station WHRO and Dominion Virginia Power.

Riverkeeper Jeff Turner, right, takes a group on an Eco-Cruise.

“It’s a great honor,” Turner said. “I was really kind of stunned.”

As Riverkeeper of the non-profit environmental organization, Turner patrols both rivers in Western Tidewater. He regularly takes three-day, two-night river patrols and visits groups and organizations to educate people on the rivers.

The award honors people or organizations who work at the grassroots level; people who are, generally, under-appreciated for the selfless work they willingly do to help others, said Jan Johnson, donor relations manager with WHRO.

Turner will receive $1,000 for the Riverkeeper program.

“We’ll probably put it toward our Eco-Cruise program,” he said.

Turner donates the use of his pontoon boat to educate people by taking them on the local rivers. He would like to get the schools more involved with the program.

“Most classrooms are larger than boat capacity,” he said. “We’ve got around that before by doing more than just one trip.”

Turner’s nomination for the award cited his contributions to the protection of the two area rivers and his outreach activities.

“Perhaps most importantly, he has single-handedly raised to unprecedented levels this community’s awareness of its most precious resources, the two rivers we call the

Blackwater and the Nottoway,” said Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson.

Winners will be recognized Wednesdsay, May 11, at an awards ceremony at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.

In related matters, Turner is promoting the annual Clean Rivers Day set for Saturday, April 2, in which individuals and organizations help get rid of trash in the watersheds and rivers. To sign up, call Turner at 562-5173 or go to www.blackwaternottoway.com.