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EXTENDED DEADLINE: 2017 Learning Network Awards: Call for Nominations and Entries

December 16, 2016 - February 13, 2017

The Urban Waters Learning Network Awards celebrate Learning Network members making significant achievements toward improving their urban waterways and revitalizing the neighborhoods around them. These members embody the spirit and value of the Learning Network and exemplify the Urban Waters Learning Network’s goal of providing peer-to-peer support, solving challenges through collaboration, and sharing. Winners are chosen by a selection committee chaired by the Learning Network Coordinators, River Network, and Groundwork USA. EPA may help review entries for project quality, but will not be on the selection committee.

Steps in the Process and Key Dates: 

  • EXTENDED Submit entries/nominations – February 13, 2017
  • Winners Announced – March 2017
  • Award Ceremony and Recipient Presentations – May 8, 2017


Only an individual or an organization who is a member of the Urban Waters Learning Network’s online Basecamp community may be entered to win. For the Learning Network Signature Award, nominees/entries must be an individual. Organizations are eligible for Learning Network Expert Awards. Federal employees and agencies are not eligible to win but may nominate eligible individuals and/or organizations.

Award Types

Learning Network Signature Award:

This individual demonstrates commitment to strengthening the community of urban waters practitioners by engaging their peers – e.g., taps into the expertise of others to strengthen their own efforts, shares successes and failures for others’ benefit, and inspires peers to learn and grow together as experts. This award may only be awarded to an individual. Do not nominate organizations for this award. Only one individual may receive this award in a given contest year.

Learning Network Expert Award:

Winners of Expert Awards pursue innovative, effective, impactful, and inclusive strategies to achieve results that benefit urban waters and the communities surrounding them. Up to three organizations may receive this award in a given contest year. The submission for this award must indicate which of the following topic areas the panel should consider when reviewing your submission:

  • Green Infrastructure & Stormwater:
    • Nominee demonstrates innovative and effective use of green infrastructure and other approaches to stormwater management – through planning, education and/or installation – that yield positive environmental impacts and provide other quality-of-life benefits to the local community.
  • Youth Leadership:
    • Nominee organization demonstrates a highly successful youth leadership program that opens up avenues for youth in our most vulnerable low income communities. Program would show track record of providing access to youth to the programs, providing a rigorous training in environmental concepts, providing community context for youth work, and providing support for their path forward as adults in the field.
  • Environmental Justice:
    • Nominee demonstrates commitment and implementation of environmental justice principles making real gains towards the dual environmental justice goals of granting all the same degree of protection from environmental health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
  • Job Training:
    • Nominee demonstrates commitment to creating meaningful career paths in fields that help restore urban waters, including green infrastructure installation and maintenance, landscaping and other conservation practices, by providing workforce training services, helping develop markets, and connecting trainees with job opportunities.
  • Environmental Education:
    • Nominee organization demonstrates creative ways of educating youth and/or communities in environmental science in order, as citizens, to make decisions protecting the environment.
  • Water Quality & Monitoring:
    • Nominee demonstrates a compelling vision and an innovative approach to protecting and restoring their local urban water resources by implementing approaches that directly address important threats to water quality and/or support members of their communities in conducting citizen science to help inform water management activities.

How to Enter

Submit one completed Nomination Form, a one-to-three page document answering questions listed on the Nomination Form, and an accompanying photo to dtoledo@rivernetwork.org and annmarie@groundworkhv.org by February 13, 2017. Be sure to indicate whether your entry is for a Signature or an Expert Award. If the entry is for an Expert Award, indicate which of the award topic areas the selection committee should consider when reviewing your submission. These topic areas are listed above and on the Nomination Form. You may submit an entry on your own/your organization’s behalf or nominate an individual or organization. Please think about those people who have helped you in the network for these awards!

Selection Process

Award recipients are chosen by a selection committee chaired by the Learning Network Coordinators, River Network and Groundwork USA. EPA may provide technical clarity on the topic areas when necessary and appropriate, but will not be on the selection committee. The Learning Network Coordinators will assemble the selection committee from the Urban Waters Learning Network community after all nominations have been received. The committee will convene to review submissions and determine award recipients starting February 13, 2017.

The Urban Waters Learning Network may announce up to four contest winners, but does not have to announce four contest winners depending on the quantity and quality of contest entries and nominations.

Awards and Prizes

Each recipient of a 2017 Learning Network Award will receive:

  • Financial support for one individual to present their work at the Urban Waters Learning Forum on May 8th, 2017 where they will also receive their award.
  • Scholarship for one individual to attend River Rally in 2017 (event registration, lodging, and meals).
  • And either:
    • Up to $6,500 in professional support to create a 30-90 second promotional video on the winner’s project(s) or initiative(s).
    • Up to $6,000 in professional support to create a branded two-page flyer or product promoting a topic of the winner’s choice and/or graphic design services for a logo or infographic of the winner’s choice.

Contact Us

Have questions? Please email Ann-Marie Mitroff at annmarie@groundworkhv.org or Diana Toledo at DToledo@rivernetwork.org.

Disclaimers and Conditions

All materials sent with the nominations are the property of the Learning Network. Learning Network reserves the right to consult with other parties to as to the accuracy of the nomination and the worthiness of any nominee.  The decisions of the judges are final and non-reviewable.

In order to be awarded a prize a party must provide (1 or more) photos relevant to your entry. These photos must be accompanied by written legal releases from all people in the photos giving full publication and reproduction rights of the photos to the Learning Network. In addition, the winner must agree to come to Leaning Network Forum at River Rally (May 8th, 2016 in Grand Rapids) and give a presentation of the project for which they were awarded.


December 16, 2016
February 13, 2017