August 2011 Watershed Highlight of the Month

San Diego River Park Foundation is the 2011 Take Pride in America National Award Winner

(Above) From left to right are: Julie Rodriquez, Director of the Department of the Interior Youth Program; Rob Hutsel, Executive Director, San Diego River Park Foundation; Bill Steele, Southern California Area Manager, Bureau of Reclamation; and Lisa Young, Director, Take Pride in America.

The San Diego River Park Foundation was selected as the 2011 Take Pride in America National Award winner for outstanding partner. The award was presented in a ceremony at the South Court of the White House on Monday, July 18th.

Rob Hutsel, the organization's executive director and one of its founders, was in Washington to receive the award on behalf of the organization. "We are deeply moved by this national recognition of our San Diego-based organization. It is a testimony to the great efforts of thousands of volunteers to change the future of our historic San Diego River." Rob Hutsel said upon hearing of the award. Rob continued by saying, "it is inspirational to think that the White House is aware of the great work being done here."

Just by coincidence, the award was presented on the organization's 10th anniversary as it was officially founded on July 18, 2001. In addition, Hutsel also serves on the Board of Directors for the California Watershed Network.

The award recognizes the volunteer programs of the San Diego River Park Foundation and its many accomplishments. One of the most significant is its initiative to clean-up the San Diego River which has resulted in more than 1.3 million lbs. of trash and debris removed. Thousands of San Diegans have participated in this program which now coordinates in excess of 10,000 hours of service. The River Park Foundation also organizes volunteers to care for local parks, open space preserves, disaster response and many projects to advance a 52-mile long park system along the River. For more information on the San Diego River Park Foundation, visit their website at

Take Pride in America is a nationwide partnership program authorized by Congress to promote the appreciation and stewardship of our nation's public lands. The Take Pride in America program is administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior for the benefit of all public lands at all levels of government nationwide. For more information visit

The San Diego River Park Foundation's mission is to engage people to work toward a better future for the San Diego River and the creation of a 52 mile river parkway from the mountains to the ocean. The River Park Foundation is a non-profit community-based organization that was founded in 2001. Since its founding, it has grown in membership to more than 3000 people and annually organizes volunteers who contribute more than 20,000 hours of service to San Diego.

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