Umpqua Watersheds Blog


Outreach Update: Banquet 2024

Published June 9th, 2024 in Outreach

by Kasey Hovik

On Sunday, June 2nd, Umpqua Watersheds celebrated its 28th annual membership banquet. Even though it rained we were able to enjoy being with our members and supporters and give an update on all our committee work thanks to the 40’ x 20’ tent we purchased as part of the Umpqua Outback Project. Over 80 people attended the event and it was so much fun to catch up with everyone.

Paul Engelmeyer gave a marvelous presentation entitled “Beavers and Water – Issues and Conservation Strategies”. We learned about the importance of marine reserves for helping protect fish that live long and produce the most fish and about the important role beavers play to increase riparian habitat, reduce stream temperatures and restore stream complexity.

The theme of the banquet was “The Importance of Connecting the Dots” which followed last year’s theme about “Connectivity”. Over the last year, Umpqua Watershed has made so many connections within our community because of the work of our staff, volunteers and committees. Through our AmeriCorps program, led this year by Julie Lowe, we have expanded our education outreach to impact hundreds of kids in our community while making important connections with local schools and teachers. Julie has also done an outstanding job with her weekly, “Living Downstream Radio Show” where she has interviewed dozens of people from multiple organizations. Through her work and that of our committees, Umpqua Watersheds has created so many new connections which will bring in new people and resources into the organization in the months to come.

The banquet is also about celebrating long-time connections with our members and supporters. It is so rejuvenating for our staff and key volunteers to see our members. The kind words of support as well as the financial support the banquet brings in means the world to us. A very special part of the banquet is to recognize people who have gone above and beyond to support our work.

This year’s banquet awards include:

  • Lenore Paulsen – Lifetime Conservationist
  • Stan and Kathy Vejtasa – Conservationist of the Year
  • Cindy Haws – Lifetime Volunteer
  • Chris Lowe – Volunteer of the Year

Thank you to everyone who came. The event was truly uplifting, and we look forward to seeing everyone again at River Appreciation Day at River Forks Park on Saturday, July 20th.




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