LISBON, CONNECTICUT — Syma Ebbin, a director of the Groton Open Space Association, has won one of seven awards presented in October by the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, a non-profit soil and water conservation organization serving 36 communities.
The awards, made at an annual meeting Oct. 13, 2010, recognized “outstanding volunteers and special partnership relationships,” the ECCD said in a news release.
Dr. Ebbin’s students in her “Environmental and Resource Policy” course were invited to act as consultants to the partners in the Niantic River Watershed Protection Plan. The focus of this research was three-fold: students interviewed staff from each of the four watershed towns — Montville, Salem, Waterford and East Lyme — and assessed the progress made in implementing the Watershed Protection Plan by each municipality. They also focused on the challenges and opportunities for extending protection to riparian buffers or corridors within the Niantic River watershed, and finally, two students conducted a literature review of scientific studies that addressed the issue of effective buffer widths to meet various functional objectives. Over the course of a semester, students learned about the watershed and collected, compiled and presented information that was shared verbally and in report format with these partners. A meeting was held on April 16 in which partners were invited to hear student presentations. It is hoped that the student’s work will be helpful to the partners in their efforts to enhance the implementation of the Watershed Protection Plan, protect coastal and riparian areas and improve water quality.Dr. Ebbin, of the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, and Connecticut Sea Grant, was awarded the Professional Project Contributor Award for “cooperative education and outreach efforts in the Niantic River watershed, supplementing ECCD’s efforts to implement the Niantic River Water Quality Improvement Plan,” the ECCD said. Dr. Ebbin teaches marine and environmental science and policy courses at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point and is the Connecticut Sea Grant Program’s Research Coordinator. UConn is Connecticut’s Sea Grant College. The Sea Grant Program is a partnership of the nation’s universities and its primary ocean agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Dr. Ebbin has been a GOSA director since 2009.
The release said the following about other winners:
The Town of Lisbon was recognized with the Supporting Town Award in appreciation of their generosity to provide meeting space for many ECCD events. First Selectman Tom Sparkman received the award on behalf of the town.
Bet Zimmerman of Woodstock received the Conservation Journalism Award for a weekly conservation themed column in the Villager newspapers. Her articles are archived atwww.ourbetternature.org.
The Muddy Boots Award was co-received by Grace Jacobson of Woodstock and Beverly Thornton of Brooklyn for their dedicated volunteer service assisting ECCD in the weekly collection of water samples in Pomfret as part of a bacterial contamination source investigation.
Eric Thomas of the CT Department of Environmental Protection was presented with the ECCDWatershed Champion Award in appreciation of his dedication to protecting the water resources of Connecticut and for generously sharing his vast knowledge of local watersheds, as well as for being a great interagency facilitator.
This year’s Project Partnership Award was given to The Last Green Valley, Inc. in recognition of a five year partnership with ECCD in support of TLGV Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program Coordinator. Receiving this award on behalf of The Last Green Valley was Deputy Executive Director Lois Bruinooge.
Resource Conservation and Development Coordinator Elizabeth “Liz” Rogers of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service was presented with the Partner Organization Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award for her many years of helping improve the region’s natural resource organizations, including ECCD.