Chesterton Tribune



National Izaak Walton honors Bonnie Swarner and NWI Paddlers

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Liberty Township resident Bonnie Swarner, along with the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association, received national Save Our Streams Awards from the Izaak Walton League on July 20 at its annual convention in Stevens Point, Wis.

The Save Our Streams Award is presented to individuals or organizations that have done outstanding work in environmental education and citizen activism for clean water.

“Bonnie is our champion for environmental education in the Porter County Chapter,” said chapter president Jim Sweeney. “She is passionate about getting kids outside and teaching them about the conservation of our natural resources.”

The nomination described her work in organizing the chapter’s Family Nature Nights programs in the Duneland schools every year, controlling invasive species, serving on multiple volunteer boards, and much more. Susan Swarner, Bonnie’s daughter, said, “My mom organized the participation of the chapter and many of the environmental presenters at the Porter County Fair this year for the first time. She is a very generous person and education is her passion.”

The chapter also honored Bonnie Swarner with its Judge John W. Tobin Award for her leadership on the education programs.

The Northwest Indiana Paddling Association, meanwhile, was also recognized for its work on Lake Michigan, the Kankakee River, and all the other water resources of the area.

“NWIPA has a list of accomplishments in their first few years that any organization would envy for a lifetime,” Sweeney said. “They have a dynamic and engaged board and do big things regularly.”

The Save Our Streams Award nomination lists many of the paddlers’ accomplishments since 2009 but highlights the Team River Runner program for disabled veterans, in partnership with Valparaiso University; and the creation of the Kankakee National Water Trail, in partnership with numerous Illinois and Indiana organizations and individuals. “There is no other organization of volunteers in the area that has accomplished as much as the Paddlers have,” Sweeney said.



Posted 8/22/2016




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