Springfield, Vt., Woman Wins Environmental Award

Kelly Stettner

Kelly Stettner

Springfield, Vt. — A Springfield volunteer who led efforts to clean up the Black River in southeastern Vermont recently received an environmental award from Green Mountain Power.

Kelly Stettner, who founded the Black River Action Team, was selected from eight nominees for the annual the GMP-Zetterstrom environmental award, named for osprey advocate Meeri Zetterstrom. The award comes with $2,500 to continue the team’s efforts to protect the Black River.

“Kelly’s spirit, determination and commitment to improve the Black River region inspired hundreds of people,” Mary Powell, president and CEO of Green Mountain Power, said in a recent news release. “Through force of will and incredible optimism, Kelly built a broad coalition that collaborated to clean up the river. And her ongoing focus on environmental education and stewardship will help protect the river for generations to come.”

In 2000, the Black River Action Team began holding annual clean ups of the river. Only four volunteers helped that year, covering just 100 feet of the river.

Now, hundreds of people volunteer with the organization, cleaning up miles of shoreline each year.

The action team, which created a nursery to grow plants for bank stabilization, also collects thousands of printer cartridges for recycling to raise funds, operates a fishing line recycling program, cleans up after local parades, helps with fuel spill issues in the region, conducts monthly water sampling at 11 sites on the river and manages an “Adopt a Swimming Hole” program.

Over the years, Stettner has facilitated collaboration with dozens of groups and agencies, including the Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.

— Staff report