VISIONING THE MYSTIC: 2016 ANNUAL MEETING
What's your vision for the Mystic River Watershed?
More than 80 people attended the 2016 Annual Meeting to share their vision of the Mystic River Watershed in 20 years - 2036. The participants worked in small groups to brainstorm ideas for a cover story about the Mystic - using the recent Boston Magazine article, A Tale of Two Rivers, as inspiration. What would the headline be? What would the photo depict? Would there be a quote and by whom?
Themes from across the groups emerged, including abundant wildlife, river access and park connectivity, healthy water quality, swimming opportunities and a boat rental facility. At the same time we saw some great headlines, for example:
“From the Most Polluted Harbor to Healthiest River in Country,”
“Our River is an Honor Student: A+ for Mystic,”
“Herring Can Be Fished and Eaten,”
“Mario Vitale Opens Marquee Riverfront Restaurant in Medford Square,”
“Water Taxi: Assembly Sq. to Boston,” and
“Mystic River 4th Annual Triathlon Champion Named.”
MyRWA will take these headlines and dreams and weave them into our daily work. We will make sure that we are moving toward a bold vision that makes our rivers, lakes and ponds healthy and our parks world-class – and that we are bringing along our communities toward this vision.
Next up, Patrick Herron, MyRWA's new Executive Director, shared the Association's vision for the watershed - one of healthy waters and world-class parks. The elements of healthy waters and world-class parks include clean water; high quality habitat; resiliency to climate change; beautiful, accessible parks and paths; and you! Patrick emphasized that people need to enjoy the Mystic and play a role in achieving this vision - whether by volunteering, donating or being a champion for the river in other ways.
An awards ceremony was held to honor key volunteers. MyRWA works with more than 1,000 volunteers each year - ranging from water chestnut removal, water quality and herring monitoring, to serving on our Policy and Clean Water Campaign Committees and attending outreach events on behalf of the Association. This year's awards included:
- 5 Year Water Quality Monitoring Award to Jack Beusmans, Moira Ashleigh, and Karen Buck
- 10 Year Water Quality Monitoring Award to Bob Knippen
- 15 Year Water Quality Monitoring Award to Tracy Olson
- The Mystic Municipal Leadership Award was awarded to Alicia Hunt, Director of Energy and Environment and Environmental Agent for the City of Medford. Alicia is a reliable and passionate advocate for the Mystic and Malden Rivers and is involved with many MyRWA initiatives. She has catalyzed the municipal relationship with the Association and served as liaison to the Mayor’s office. .
- John Kilborn of Winchester was awarded the Ripple Award which acknowledges the awardee as an exemplary example of a citizen impacting his community to the benefit of the Mystic River Watershed.
- New this year, MyRWA presented the Mystic Champion Award to honor an individual from a partnering agency. Rene Morin from the Masschusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation received the award for his dedication to the Mystic and going above and beyond to help MyRWA.