December 15, 2020
2020 Volunteer Appreciation Awards

Thank you to ALL of our fantastic volunteers who helped us in 2020. We could not do it without you!


Judy Middleton

Pearl School Volunteer of the Year – Nominated by Jody Ullmann


Judy Middleton has a degree in Early Childhood Education. She taught kindergarten for a total of 30 years and was the director of a local preschool. When she retired, she joined the Education Department as a volunteer. For the past several years, Judy has created and taught wonderful pre-K programs for our SPAT program and volunteered with the Reading for the Rivers Program. When the pandemic hit, she joined with other talented SPAT teachers to help tocreate lessons for the popular SPAT 2.0 take home kits, as well as the Tree Top Adventure Kits. She also volunteers at outreach events and is a great ambassador for our programs.



Pender & Coward

Pearl Business of the Year – Nominated by Vince Bowhers


I nominate Pender & Coward as the 2020 Pearl Business of the Year. Even before completing their Pearl Business certification in February, Jim Lang and the Pender & Coward Waterfront Law team participated in our stewardship efforts, sending teams of volunteers to every cleanup and even requesting additional cleanup locations during the pandemic. They have also supported LRNow by providing materials for our education programs, blogging about the importance of living shorelines, promoting Pearl Businesses, and supporting LRNow events.


Nicole Rosenblum

Development Volunteer of the Year – Nominated by Alyssa Muhlendorf


I nominate Nicole Rosenblum as the Development volunteer of the year. Nicole dedicated over 30 hours of her time to envision and work the first ever fundraising tent at the LRNow Fall Festival in 2019, and to serve on the 2020 Oyster Roast Planning Committee where she secured new sponsors.



Mary Reid Barrow 

Communications Volunteer of the Year – Nominated by Morgan Schmidtendorff


It is no surprise that Mary Reid Barrow continues to go above and beyond in volunteering. She assisted LRNow throughout the #AloneTogether Campaign – creating content, editing, and working hard to keep our community connected. She supported me through my job change from being single program focused, to all of social media communications for our organization. Her presence and knowledge made my transition significantly less stressful. Her creativity and input keeps all of my content full of life. Every day she inspires me to do more. Mary Reid is an icon in our community and I am honored that I get to work with her on a daily basis. This is an experience that I will always remember and cherish. Thank you for all your hard work!



Ron Nieto

Stewardship & Access Committee Volunteer of the Year – Nominated by Helen Kuhns


Ron Nieto is a behind-the-scenes guy who is great at pulling the details together. He is always there at waterway cleanups, usually on the water with his lovely wife Sharon, pulling in loads of trash. When cleanups are limited, he and Sharon are still out there working on their own or in smaller groups to make a difference. In addition, Ron has assisted with LRNow’s tree planting at Ocean Lakes, helped to remove bindweed from a choking floating wetland island and is always ready for a new adventure. Thank you for all you do, Ron!!



Ann Farley 

PR & Marketing Volunteer of the year – Nominated by Mary Reid Barrow

Ann Farley is our PR Committee volunteer of the year. I love working with a volunteer who steps up and does more than her share without ever being asked! I have the sense that Ann is always thinking about LRNow because she regularly comes up with suggestions and ways for us to put our best food forward. For example, she proposed writing on our Facebook page about how trees inspire the imagination and asking others to let us know about how trees also inspire their imaginations. Ann not only proposed the idea but carried it through and you can see some of the responses in our annual report. She also has spent a lot of time thinking about and bringing her business experience to bear on choosing a name for our upcoming capital campaign. In addition, Ann has been very involved with our tree planting and tree fund, and actually brought a large donation into our fund that came as a total surprise. I could go on, but the best thing to say is LRNow and the PR Committee is so grateful for what Ann has done for us so quietly and thoughtfully all year.


Cassie Hillian 

Administration & Events Volunteer of the Year – Nominated by Terri Gorman


I would like to nominate Cassie Hillian for volunteer of the year for office assistance and events. She has been amazing about helping in all areas — Pearl Home Campaign, Tree Committee, Office Help, Planting, Bracelets, ect. She is wonderful about emailing and calling to see how she can help and has been a great support to our organization. She also comes up with creative ideas and recruits her husband to help.


Jim Deppe 

Advocacy Volunteer of the Year – Nominated by Karen Forget


Some may be surprised to learn that Jim Deppe is a volunteer. He is such an integral part of our Advocacy programs that you may have assumed he was paid staff. He is certainly a very important part of our team! In addition to all of the other ways that Jim works for good environmental policy, he also heads the Virginia Coastal Alliance, a regional group that came together to fight offshore drilling and has since also taken on reducing single use plastics that pollute all of our waters.



Kellie Astin and Tim Romo

Restoration Volunteer of the Year – Nominated by Karen Forget


The exciting tree planting project that we completed in the Ocean Lakes neighborhood this fall was possible because of the amazing support that we received from the Ocean Lakes Homeowners Association led by Kellie Astin, Manager, and Tim Romo, Maintenance Manager. They were terrific and went way beyond what any of us expected to help make this project run smoothly. We can’t wait to work with them again in the future!




PEARL HOMES are places where people care about our environment and want to do what they can to help protect our resources.

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Lynnhaven River NOW recognizes schools providing outstanding environmental education as a Pearl School.

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PEARL BUSINESSES are essential to truly move towards a more sustainable Virginia Beach and cleaner waters.

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We all want to do our part to restore the health of all of our sacred waterways and protect them for future generations to enjoy.

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SUSTAINABLE YARDS PROGRAM: Let us help you “green” your Lynnhaven watershed home. This unique program provides specific stormwater management practices to your yard at a significantly reduced cost to you.

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