The Buzzards Bay Guardian Award is the highest honor granted by the Coalition. A Buzzards Bay Guardian has demonstrated outstanding service in the cleanup, restoration, or protection of the Bay. Most importantly, Buzzards Bay Guardians are unsung heroes or heroines who deserve public recognition, not only for what they have achieved but to inspire others to make a difference.
John Ross of West Falmouth received a Guardian Award for his leadership on cleaning up nitrogen pollution in West Falmouth Harbor. In the 1990s, after noticing the health of West Falmouth Harbor declining, Ross mobilized West Falmouth residents to raise funds for a scientific investigation and advocate for a cleanup. As a result of his determination, West Falmouth Harbor is now on the road to recovery. Ross also served on the Coalition’s Board of Directors for ten years, including three years as board chair.
The Wankinquoah Rod and Gun Club in Middleborough was honored for its vision in conserving more than 350 acres of woods, ponds, and wetlands in the Weweantic River watershed. The club worked together with the Coalition, the town of Middleborough, and the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game last fall to permanently protect this land, helping to safeguard clean water in the Weweantic River.
In addition to the Guardian Awards, the Coalition honored students and teachers from Old Colony and Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High Schools as Volunteers of the Year for lending their carpentry, electrical, and plumbing skills to the renovation of a visitor center at the Acushnet Sawmill. Rich Packard of the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection received the final Guardian Award of the night for his work to reduce the likelihood and impact of oil spills in Buzzards Bay. As director of the Marine Oil Spill Prevention and Response Team, Packard implemented the 2007 Massachusetts Oil Spill Prevention Act and enforced regulations to protect the Bay in the wake of the 2003 Bouchard spill.