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Parker Branch Stream Team Receives Award From President Bush

September 6, 2006

President Bush & Parker Branch Stream TeamRogers, Arkansas - Can a few people really make a difference in this huge country? Two moms and four daughters, also known as the Parker Branch Stream Team, received a prestigious award from President George W. Bush for doing just that - making a big difference to the natural resources of The Natural State.

Millie and Madeleine Hogue and their mom, Mavie, along with sisters Margaux and Isabella Isaksen and mom Katherine West, went east recently to Washington, D.C. to receive their just desserts. They represented Arkansas and the Stream Team program by receiving the 2005 Presidentís Environmental Youth Award from the president.

The PEYA is co-sponsored by the Office of the President and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is given to the youth or youth group that exemplify true conservation ethic and promotes environmental awareness of the nationís natural resources.

The group calls northwest Arkansas home and have adopted Parker Branch, a tributary of the Middle Fork White River near the community of White House near Elkins in Washington County. The two eighth graders and two sixth graders took on the challenge of doing a cross-curriculum project involving the environment. The girls began by conducting research on Parker Branch, attended community meetings involving those living in the watershed, and then began to utilize resources available through agencies such as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commissionís Stream Team Program.

The program helped train the team on how to sample the water quality and identify the macroinvertebrates of Parker Branch., according to assistant fisheries chief Steve Filipek. "Both families took their stewardship responsibilities seriously and, after some additional training on physical and biological assessment methods, they applied for a Stream Team Mini-Grant in order to purchase a water quality kit and sample Parker Branch and other northwest Arkansas streams on a regular basis," Filipek said.

The team also nurtured a partnership with state, county and local officials by conducting litter pick ups on area creeks and helping to develop stabilization projects for streambanks in their watershed, Filipek explained. "They encouraged county officials to develop guidelines for mowing and grading the riparian area and road adjoining Parker Branch," he added.

Locally, the Stream Team held a one-day educational summer camp for local youth to learn about how streams function and then, to carry that information home with them to their families

The team has developed a guide for other stream teams or concerned groups in the area to get involved with their local streams and partner with state and local officials to use a team approach to keep or enhance their streams and watersheds towards a better condition, Filipek said. "They are working towards a future of a larger watershed partnership with other landowners in the Parker Branch watershed and in adjoining watersheds as well. These ladies are making a big difference in the Parker Branch watershed and in all of northwest Arkansas as well. They are thinking globally and acting locally," he stated.


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