Voice of the River

Gallatin River Stewardship Awards 2023

On October 19th, the Gallatin River Task Force came together for a night of honoring the commitment of our volunteers, the dedication of our business partners, and the support of our community. Last week signified the 2023 Gallatin River Stewardship Awards. A remarkable event filled with inspiring stories, great camaraderie, and well-deserved recognition. We are so grateful to all those who make our work possible.

Bucky Lamb, our Chief Development Officer, began the evening by stating:

“This event is a tribute to the Gallatin River Task Force family”. 

Over the past year, our community has come together in countless ways to protect and restore the Gallatin River. From volunteers who help us with our water monitoring or help pick up trash during our annual community river clean-up, to businesses that donate their time and resources; everyone has a vital role to play. Below is a recap of those we recognized throughout the evening.


2023 Gallatin River Stewardship Award Recipients

Rookie of the Year – Kori Navarro

The Rookie of the Year Award is presented to a “first-year” volunteer who displays excitement, energy and effort in advancing the Gallatin River Task Force mission. 

Our 2023 recipient, Kori Navarro, volunteered more than 32 hours this summer helping with many of our water quality and algae sampling events. Kori was essential for helping us complete our monitoring work. She also volunteered for our Hooked on the Gallatin Event at our collateral table and helped us sell Task Force merchandise and promote the organization. We are thankful for all of this hard work this summer and the passion shared for the Gallatin River.

Citizen Scientist of the Year – Jim & Vicki Erickson

The Citizen Scientist of the Year Award is presented to a volunteer who demonstrates a passion for science, research, and a love for protecting the Gallatin River.

This year we were honored to have TWO recipients. Jim and Vicki Erickson made our life and our season of field work go much smoother than we could have ever hoped for. It was a pleasure to get to know them and we are so appreciative of the “can-do” attitudes they brought to the work even when the temperature bordered on freezing and we were crawling through bushes, culverts, and streams to get our samples. 


Community Partner of the Year – Wendi Urie

The Community Partner of the Year Award is presented to a member of the greater Big Sky area who demonstrates a commitment to community, team-work and dedication.

This year’s recipient was Wendi Urie, Recreation Manager for the Custer-Gallatin National Forest and soon-to-be District Ranger for the Hebgen Ranger District. Wendi has been partnering with us and supporting the Task Force since 2013. She is a passionate and strategic leader and is always finding a way forward even when we face challenging obstacles.

Business Partner of the Year – Outlaw Partners

The Business Partner of the Year Award is presented to a company who displays outstanding support of the Gallatin River Task Force mission.

This year’s winner is a bold, visionary team who puts the “fun” in fundraising, in addition to being hard-working and resourceful, all with a slant towards creativity. Outlaw Partner’s partnership helped us nearly double the amount of funding from our previous best Hooked on the Gallatin event. They went above and beyond for the Gallatin River Task Force, and our work to raise awareness and funds for river conservation. 

Leadership Legacy – Heather Budd

The Leadership Legacy Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant and positive impact and dedicated a significant portion of their life to advancing the Task Force mission.

This year’s Leadership Legacy Award was presented to Heather Budd, who served as a dedicated and resilient board member for many years.  Her attention to detail and her interest in advancing work to protect the Gallatin were always part of her leadership.  Heather’s positive impact on our work, and on the organization has been immeasurable.

Philanthropist of the Year – Bill Collins

The Philanthropist of the Year Award is presented to an individual who gives their time, their heart and their resources to advance the Gallatin River Task Force mission.

This year’s award was presented to Bill Collins. Not only did Bill share his 60th birthday celebration with the Task Force as a fundraising opportunity, but he has dedicated countless hours to telling the Task Force’s story and the importance of conserving the Gallatin. These efforts have been a show of his dedication to helping protect the Gallatin, and additionally helped us raise  over $300K at this year’s Hooked on the Gallatin Fundraiser. He is by far one of our biggest champions.

Volunteer(s) of the Year – Nancy Hagen & James Adamek 

The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to an individual who embodies the volunteer spirit.

This year’s award was presented to two individuals who have shown up for the Task Force in ways too many to count.  In volunteering, in fundraising, in event planning, and in gathering support for our work and our team.  Nancy Hagen and James Adamek are two people who never say no to an opportunity to jump in and help, and are always there when we need them. They show up with a smile on their face, arrive early and stay late. They are people the Task Force can always depend on with an unquestionable passion for the Gallatin River and ideas about how we do better for the river. 

Though many of our volunteers displayed these qualities, these were two shining examples of the aforementioned volunteer spirit, and we are ever grateful to have Nancy and James as part of our Task Force family.  

A Community of Leaders

Thank you to our volunteers, business partners, and community supporters for all that you do to protect and restore the Gallatin River. The event was a testament to what can be achieved when a community comes together with a shared purpose. We look forward to the next year with enthusiasm and determination.

Congratulations to all of our 2023 Gallatin River Stewardship Celebration award winners. Once again, a big thank you to everyone who continues to support our mission. We are truly lucky to have you as part of our family.

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