Toole presented with FLRWA 2021 Citizens Award

Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance
Maura Toole being presented Citizens Award, alongside FLRWA President, Margie Creamer, and Seneca Pure Waters President, Jake Welch.

GENEVA -- The Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance (FLRWA) has honored volunteer Maura Toole of the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association with its 2021 Citizens Award. This award is given to an individual who contributes significantly to the alliance’s cause of protecting the water quality of the Finger Lakes.

Maura’s leadership efforts creating the first Lake Friendly Living Awareness Week, May 2-7, 2021 was the primary impetus for this award. The goal of this week, successfully achieved, was to educate and engage Finger Lake watershed residents, local governments and businesses to adopt lake friendly practices that will help protect and preserve the Finger Lakes for sustainable water quality, recreational use and business vitality from tourism.

"Maura, hands down, has been an essential component in establishing the Lake Friendly Living Coalition of the Finger Lakes as our founding team organizer," said Skaneateles Lake Association Executive Director Frank Moses. "She has been at the forefront of synergizing watershed protection leadership throughout the Finger Lakes, which continues to be better off everyday through her unwavering dedication."

In this initial year, Maura led representatives of lake associations through the difficult times of the early months of 2021 and established the Coalition of the Finger Lakes via the zoom medium. The group is made up of one from each lake association, west to east, Honeoye, Canandiagua, Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga, Owasco, Skaneateles, and Otisco. The 8th lake association Conesus worked on their own type of Lake Friendly Living, promoting goals Maura had presented to the FLRWA board in April of 2020.

The Coalition under Maura Toole’s tutelage worked closely to develop and execute all critical components of an expert-led webinar series available throughout the Finger Lakes during Awareness Week. The zoom technology became an education medium for reaching citizens of the Finger Lakes region. Nearly 500 people participated in the daily held webinars. The nine expert-led webinars are still available for viewing through the FLRWA website, www.flrwa.org/lake-friendly-living. The webinars covered topics such as home tips, climate change, Citizen Science, specific yard care, hemlock woolly adelgid, and native planting and vineyard sustainable practices.

The FLRWA Citizen Award was developed by Board member Don Cook representing Honeoye Lake a year ago.  He noted that the award was developed “to honor people who have given their time and energy to improve the water quality of the Finger Lakes … very creative, talented, hard working people.”

FLRWA President Margie Creamer, held a luncheon ceremony at Parker's Grille in Geneva to present Maura with the award.