Voice of the River

2016 Volunteer Awards

We can’t believe that another year of monitoring and restoring the Gallatin River Watershed has come and gone! To date in 2016, the 114 members of the Volunteer Task Force donated 912 hours, drove over 3,000 miles, raised over $20,000 at the Hooked on the Gallatin Banquet, and harvested at least 5,000 willows.

Before we ring in the new year, we want to take the time to celebrate the accomplishments of a few of the individuals who went to great lengths to protect the Gallatin River. Thank you to all of our volunteers, you make our work possible.


Rick Donaldson measuring chloride at a winter water quality monitoring event.

Most Pebbles Counted 

This year, it was an incredibly tight race for the “Most Pebbles Counted” award. Two dedicated volunteers, board members, and friends battled for the honor of the most hours donated to the Gallatin River Task Force in 2016. This year, Rick Donaldson squeaked past the 2015 champion, Ron Bowlin, with an astounding 44.5 hours. Rick worked just over a full week this year! That’s a lot for a retired guy.

Rick started out strong wading through chest deep snow to test water quality this winter, was named to the board of directors in the spring, and became a fixture at the Gallatin River Task Force booth at the Big Sky Farmer’s Market this summer. Good work Rick!


JeNelle Johnson grinning while monitoring fine sediment.

The Rookie

The Rookie award goes to a truly exceptional first year (well sort of) volunteer. This enterprising individual worked with Montanans for Healthy Rivers to conduct Wild & Scenic outreach last year, which inspired her to “dip-her-toes” into water quality monitoring and conservation work with the Gallatin River Task Force. At the Task Force, we can always count on JeNelle Johnson for her commitment to river conservation, enthusiastic participation, and positive attitude.


IT Department 

There is a great IT Department behind every organization. Unfortunately, the Gallatin River Task Force doesn’t have a paid techy on staff. Luckily, we know a Water and Sewer District general manager who likes to tinker with technology. This enterprising individual voluntarily investigated all (PC-related) computer issues, reformatted our community water quality monitoring database, and helped to record and edit presentations from the Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum. Rumor has it, he’s pretty high up on the Excel podium. Congrats Ron Edwards!


Ennion Williams teaching the next generation of river stewards.

The MVP 

The honor of most valuable player is bestowed on the highest performing member of the Gallatin River Fly Fishing Festival Committee. Not only did this individual endure countless hours of planning meetings, but he went above and beyond, working with RO Drift Boats to secure a drift boat donated at cost. A heart-felt thank you to Ennion Williams. We don’t know where we would be without your out-of-the-box ideas and dedication to the Gallatin River Fly Fishing Festival. We feel lucky to have you on our team!

Want to join the Volunteer Task Force?

Throughout the year, you can help us monitor the health of the Upper Gallatin River Watershed. During the summer months, you can assist with the Gallatin River Fly Fishing Festival, wield a shovel in one of our restoration projects, or volunteer at our booth at the Big Sky Farmers Market.

Apply to join our volunteer team today.


Simms 1% to GRTF Cart Explanation.
Combined logos for Simms and GRTF

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