This past spring, Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program Manager Alice Ewen and her fellow Urban Waters Team members were honored for their efforts to clean up urban waterways and revitalize surrounding lands. The team was selected as a finalist in the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. From over 350 nominations, only 32 finalists were selected.
The interagency Urban Waters Team partners with local, state, and federal agencies, businesses, nonprofits, and philanthropies to clean up pollution; spur redevelopment of abandoned properties; promote new businesses; and provide parks and access for boating, swimming, fishing and community gatherings.
Despite modest resources, the program is active in more than 250 locations nationwide. The Urban Waters Team includes an extended network of over 30 Forest Service employees who are leading Urban Waters recovery efforts in cities across the country. For example, in Baltimore, where the Forest Service contributed expertise and leadership, the city is restoring blighted land and removing abandoned housing. As finalists, this work is being raised up alongside the delivery of humanitarian aid in Syria and the development of the next generation of prosthetics for amputees.
Now the Urban Waters Team’s work could be recognized with a People’s Choice Award! Voting is now open, and voting instructions and details can be found here.
Help support our agency’s excellent work by casting your vote for Surabhi Shah and the Urban Waters Team here. Winners will be announced in September.