Voice of the River

Six Volunteers Who Went Above and Beyond in 2018

This year, 150 volunteers donated over 1,000 hours to the Gallatin River Task Force, which represents a $24,250 in-kind contribution to the organization.

In 2018, Task Force volunteers:

  • Installed 1,000 feet of fencing to protect streamside areas at Moose Creek
  • Planted almost 300 plants to restore vegetation on the banks of the Gallatin River
  • Planned and hosted a landmark fly fishing festival with record attendance and revenue
  • Removed 1,000 pounds of trash from the Gallatin River and Big Sky area streams
  • Oversaw the day-to-day operations of a successful and healthy nonprofit

At our annual volunteer thank you event, we recognized the exceptional contributions of six volunteers:

Grip and Grin: He might seem laid back, but don’t let that fool you. This incredibly, passionate river lover is doing his part to educate the community and advocate for healthy rivers. For the past three years, he has volunteered to guide at our youth fly fishing camp (something that we usually have to pay fly guides to do). In recent months, he has focused on educating the common man about critical watershed conservation issues in our area. Give it up for Mike Richter, winner of the “Grip and Grin” award, for his contributions to Education, Outreach, and Communications.

Most Algae Scraped: This summer, we had lofty goals for our water quality monitoring program – an extensive study of sediment at 5 sites on the Taylor Fork and algae and chlorophyll-a monitoring at 21 sites – in addition to our extensive routine monitoring program. Luckily, we had a young man from California volunteer almost 80 hours in ten days to monitor water quality. A quick study and a hard worker, we simply couldn’t have done without his help. Congratulation Mason Flood, recipient of the “Most Algae Scraped” award, for his contributions to water quality monitoring.

The Amateur Auctioneer: We hosted a pretty successful fundraiser during the Fly Fishing Festival, doubling previous revenue and raising about $45,000. This man was an integral part of our success by entertaining the crowd and encouraging folks to open their hearts and checkbooks at the Hooked on the Gallatin Banquet. He may be an amateur, but he’s got the lord on his side, and he’s the best volunteer auctioneer we could have ever asked for. Put your hands together for Brian Van Eps, winner of the “Amateur Auctioneer” award, for making our live auction a smashing success.

The Talent Buyer: If you’re wondering how we were able to book The Last Revel for the fly fishing festival, look no further than this volunteer. She’s a busy person who maximizes the impact of her time, effort, and talents. Through her initiative and enthusiasm, we were able to improve both the energy and music at the outdoor fair, which contributed to the growth of the event. Thank you, Lander Bachert, our “Talent Buyer”, for helping us to have fun at our biggest event of the year!

Sage Counsel: Our vice chair is understated, but wise beyond his years. Despite a demanding full-time job and young family, he has missed only a handful of board meetings over the past four years. He never fails to speak up when he has something important on his mind. And to say we value this volunteer’s input, would be an understatement. He provides thoughtful guidance when asked, keeping us true to our mission and maintaining our excellent reputation in the community. We give profound thanks to Rich Chandler, winner of “The Sage Counsel” award.

Volunteer of the Year: This volunteer might as well be a full-time employee of the Task Force. After less than a year on the board of directors, he stepped into the role of chair at the urging of his peers. Under his leadership, and with his financial acumen, the Task Force has developed tremendously as a nonprofit. This year, he recruited skilled volunteers to install fencing at Moose Creek, participated in multiple committees, revitalized the annual river cleanup, and assisted the staff with the first audit. With pleasure, we award Rick Donaldson, “Volunteer of the Year”, for his extraordinary contributions to the organization.

Photos by Rich Addicks, Dave Pecunies, Will Moffat, JeNelle Johnson, Michelle Donaldson, and Jim Johnson.


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