It’s a confluence of staff, board members and volunteers of Georgia Adopt-A-Stream. Every year Georgia’s volunteer water quality monitoring program, Adopt-a-Stream, gathers at the Environmental and Heritage Center in Buford, Ga., for their annual meeting, known as “Confluence,” as in what happens when streams merge together. For 2015, Confluence’s award function included the confluence of the organization’s top volunteer award with Clayton State University Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Chris Kodani.
As the winner of Adopt-a-Stream’s Legacy Trainer Award at the recent Confluence, Kodani received an honor that Harold Harbert, Georgia Environmental Protection Division Watershed Outreach Manager characterized as, “quite an achievement.
“Chris won our Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Legacy award, which goes to the Adopt-A-Stream trainer who has received and maintained certification from the state program as a trainer of our Quality Assurance/Quality Control workshops, and conducted workshops annually for at least 10 years,” he goes on to explain. “In the 23 year history of our program, only 16 trainers in the state that have been bestowed this honor.”
“That such a rare award comes from a group that I consider friends and colleagues makes it that more special,” responds Kodani, who started at Clayton State in August of 2001, and taught his first ecology class in spring of 2002. “It was some time before I found out about Adopt-A-Stream, and then started incorporating their stream monitoring protocols into my class curriculum. Somewhere along the way I got certified to be a volunteer trainer and then started to certify my students to be volunteers.”
Indeed, Kodani recalls in 2007 that he went out to some streams with his first stream research student, Anne Stahley, and collected data for her research project, which turned into a couple of presentations at scientific conferences and then eventually grew into a publication.
“Since then, I think I’ve trained dozens of my ecology students, and have had 14 different directed research students work with me,” he adds.
“The award represents both the singular achievement of a dedicated trainer and the incredible amount of buy in and support the program receives from its team of volunteer trainers,” adds Harbert. “Chris and all our trainers are considered volunteers because they are not indebted to the program to serve in the trainer capacity, but do so out of a belief in the mission of the program and its efforts to serve the environmental good of the state of Georgia through watershed protection activities, such as water quality monitoring.
“Georgia Adopt-A-Steam is honored to recognize Chris Kodani with the Legacy Trainer award for his 10 years’ support as an active Adopt-A-Stream Trainer and we look forward to strengthening our relationship as we continue to grow and expand the program through water quality monitoring activity in Georgia and beyond.”