Last week, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) presented its annual Wendell McCurry Excellence in Water Quality Award to Susan Donaldson, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension water quality education specialist. Donaldson received the award in recognition of her extensive and enduring contributions to water quality in Nevada.
Donaldson is an alumna of the University of Nevada, Reno, earning her doctorate in hydrology/hydrogeology. She has worked with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension since 1994 and has fostered numerous projects to further water quality education in Nevada, including:
- In 2000, she led a statewide tall whitetop and noxious weed education campaign for which she received a Silver Spike Award of Excellence from the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America; later, she was asked to present about the campaign at the 13th Australian Weeds Conference in Perth, Western Australia.
- In 2003, she established the Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) Nevada program in partnership with local and state agencies, providing water quality education for land-use decision makers.
- In 2005, she partnered with public agencies to create the Water Wise Program, bringing watershed education to local residents through a partnership with broadcast media and the Internet.
- In 2009, she launched a pesticide applicator safety training website and began coordinating Cooperative Extension's Pesticide Safety Education Program with the Nevada Department of Agriculture.
"Dr. Donaldson's water quality education efforts have greatly informed the public. She is directly responsible for helping stakeholders apply their knowledge and skills to solve community environmental challenges," said Colleen Cripps, administrator of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. "We are thrilled to be able to recognize her efforts with this year's Wendell McCurry Award."
The Wendell McCurry Award was established in 1999 to honor Wendell McCurry and his long-term commitment to water quality protection and improvement. During his 33-year career, McCurry was a strong advocate for water quality, establishing the state's water quality standards and representing Nevada on a national level with the Association of Clean Water Administrators, where he was highly influential in shaping national water policies.