Volunteer Ambassador Program

The Volunteer Ambassador Program in 2022 will be different in a fun way!

Program Overview

The Volunteer Ambassador Program raises community awareness of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, water pollution issues in Western New York, and direct actions to reduce pollution.

Ambassadors are highly trained volunteers who represent the organization at various community, school, and organization events and programs.
Qualifications
Must be at least 18 years old.
Must have working email address and phone number.
Able to work independently.
Strong verbal communication skills.
Responsible and committed.
Willing to learn about water issues and teach others.
Committed to and passionate about BNW’s mission: We protect and restore our water and surrounding ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. We PROTECT clean water. We RESTORE the health of ecosystems. We CONNECT people to the water. We INSPIRE economic growth and community engagement.
Volunteer Ambassador Introduction Video

Interested in learning more? Watch this webinar to learn more about the Volunteer Ambassador Program!

If you still have questions about becoming a volunteer ambassador after reviewing the information above, please contact Wendy Paterson.

Volunteer Staff Members

Mary McNeill

Mary has been part of our team for many years and has seen its many changes. She feels most comfortable outdoors observing and bettering the environment.
She has completed the Cornell Master Naturalist Program and uses her skills to educate volunteers at RestoreCorps events and countless community events and cleanups. She is also a big history buff and knows the WNY region well. Mary avidly supports our mission and that is why she is a Volunteer Ambassador. “Life requires water; there is so much room to positively impact our waterways… It’s my home and I’d like to help,” says Mary.

Lex Maccubbin

Lex is no novice to water quality issues and is also helping us consider Riverwatch data for a publication!
Ask him about his EPA funded Research: Comparative Metabolism of Unsubstituted and Methylated Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons by Fish. Lex has a PhD in Marine Microbiology and can talk the talk, but is also very approachable and interested in learning more. He was a Water Academy student this Fall and is a Volunteer Ambassador to ensure “our natural resources can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Kandy Krampitz

We love Kandy and she loves us. She has spent multiple 8 hour days helping out our organization by running from Water Academy to water sampling to cleanups to community events.
She is a certified and registered Yoga teacher and Ayurveda Yoga Specialist and even donated her time to offer yoga here at the office. Why is Kandy a Volunteer Ambassador for BWN? “Amazing set of individuals not only passionate about their work, but about the planet and people. I enjoy learning and inspiring others to stay alive and well doing volunteer work that is beneficial to all,” says Kandy.

Jim Galbo

Another long time team member, Jim has been volunteering with us for over 10 years! He is always willing to help us out and we can call him at the last minute with urgent tasks.

Common statements by Jim include, “Water is life. I want to be in it, on it and to rain on me.” If I do not show up for Riverwatch, I am dead.” If Jim says he will be there, he will. Jim is also a Baseball Coach and recognized in WNY Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jack Schweigel

Right alongside Lex is his buddy, Jack, who has years of environmental science experience and an MS in Forestry & Soils.

“Being an active advocate and worker for environmental protection and quality seems to be a natural extension of that activity and my interests,” says Jack. Not only is Jack an Volunteer Ambassador, but he also helps us calibrate Riverwatch equipment. He has shown great passion to encourage others to protect water and although he started volunteering only last year he has become a big part of our community engagement team.

Dawn Cody

Dawn is a dedicated WNY community member who believes “everyone should care about our water. How lucky we are here in WNY to never have to worry if we have water to drink or bathe in or to enjoy.”

Dawn understands the impact our actions have on our water and that is why she is a Volunteer Ambassador. She has provided counseling and training to adults with disabilities for many years and her ability to engage people in a conversation makes her an amazing asset to BNW. She even got the Volunteer Ambassador program press in two Niagara papers.

Rob Townsley

Rob is a Legal Leasing Attorney at Benderson Development. Originally from Verona, NY, Rob moved to Buffalo in 2009 to study history at the UB.

While studying at UB, Rob fell in love with the food, music, festivals and culture in Buffalo and decided to stay at UB for law school. In law school Rob worked in both the Environmental Law & Policy Clinic and the SUNY Buffalo Animal Law Pro Bono Clinic. In the Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, he worked as part of a binational task force to have the Niagara River Corridor designated as a “Wetland of International Importance”. Rob has dedicated many hours working towards improving Buffalo by participating in and leading cleanups with us, serving on the Board of Directors for The Tool Library, volunteering in numerous tree plantings and other community events, and serving on the Board of the Western New York Land Conservancy.

Ed Nickson

Ed was the 2017 recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award and has been one of our most dedicated Riverwatch volunteers sampling Cayuga Creek in Niagara County.

The little details that help make our office space functional and comfortable are done by Ed. Ed is an active volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, the Buffalo Zoo, and Fort Niagara, but still manages to fit us in. Every year he spends the winter in Florida and even volunteers for the local wildlife hospital there! We are very glad when he returns in the spring because we need his help!

Brittni Anderson

Brittni Anderson was an intern during the Spring of 2019 who wanted to continue to make a powerful impact in the community by becoming a volunteer ambassador for BNW.

She believes in water protection because survival depends on this predominant element in the environment. “If the water is not protected, this could lead to habitat degradation, and harmful health affects to humans and our wild life.” She is a graduate of the University at Buffalo where she majored in Health and Human Services Public Health and has a degree from ECC in Environmental Technology Geoscience. She is currently pursuing an MS in Urban Ecology and Sustainable Planning at Unity College

Eileen Healy

Eileen loves water! Being on it, in it, near it, above it, below it- whatever activity she does, she enjoys it that much more when it involves our fabulous waterways.

“We are so fortunate in WNY to have an abundance of fresh water. Protecting it for ourselves and future generations is one of the most important things we can do, and being a Volunteer Ambassador is one way I can play a part in making that happen.” Eileen is proud to call Buffalo home and enjoys all the area has to offer in every season. Biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing are some of the ways she likes to experience our fantastic natural heritage when away from her job working on clinical trials at Roswell Park.

Kathy O'Connor Mullen

Kathy was introduced to Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper through Water Academy.

She enjoyed the course so much that she took it twice! She puts her knowledge on environmental issues to work as a Volunteer Ambassador. We are excited to have her representing our organization at community events!

Steve Hassett

Steve has been a committed Riverwatch Volunteer since 2015 and has also volunteered in our Shoreline Sweeps and RestoreCorps events.

He spent a large portion of his life out west as an attorney at the Washington State Office of Attorney General. We are excited to put his public speaking and teaching experience to good use as he joins our crew of Volunteer Ambassadors in 2018!

Jeff Clemo

Jeff Clemo has volunteered for three years he has worked hard at plantings in the pouring rain, been the waste stream master at the Shoreline Sweep Party, and Site Captained at cleanups.

When not volunteering, Jeff works for Trocaire as a web developer, is a talented baker, and is a proud pup papa of a goofy mutt and a fluffy bichon. He enjoys outdoor activities of all kinds and looks forward to continue his efforts as a Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper volunteer.

Sherrill Quinn

Sherrill has been a volunteer with our organization from the beginning, when we were known as Friends of the Buffalo River. She has been involved in Cleanups, RestoreCorps, Water Academy, and Riverwatch.

 Sherrill understands the importance of protecting our fresh water resources. “Water is Life and I have always loved being in and around the water and want to keep it all healthy for everyone to enjoy.” We’re thrilled to have Sherrill as a volunteer and now, a Volunteer Ambassador!

Timm Otterson

Timm wants to contribute to a healthier Great Lakes region. He’s an avid outdoorsman and has always loved the sciences, with degrees in mechanical engineering, ocean physics, and vet medicine.

As an army brat, Timm was born in Okinawa and has lived in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Newfoundland, Canada. Timm and his wife have spent the last decade transforming their home and garden into an ecologically friendly oasis in the city Buffalo complete with rain barrels, solar panels and bird, bee, butterfly and bat habitat.

Lisa Maria Cruz

Lisa had been talking about her concern for the environment and her desire to make a difference locally – and was led to BNW!

She has a lot of outreach experience and is a mental health peer connection outreach coordinator. She loves working with the public and interacting with others.

She’s bilingual and is currently studying Japanese, German, Portuguese and French! She studied political science, economics and spanish at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Debbie Whalen

Debbie is passionate about protecting clean water and reducing plastics in our waterways.

Her background includes two years volunteering for Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper in a restoration project and as Site Captain for clean-ups, a member of the Grand Island CleanUp committee, and the 2021 Grand Island Climate Smart Task Force.  She also volunteers for Trash Pirates of Madeira Beach Fl and Surfrider Foundation (Niagara Frontier Chapter Treasurer).

Debbie literally “walks the talk” and has been committed to weekly solo sweeps since April of 2020, collecting debris along the same 2 miles of waterfront and along Spicer Creek Wildlife Preserve on Grand Island.  She sees value in using the Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell app and has recorded 609.36 pounds of trash just since last summer!   By land, kayak or bike, Debbie looks forward to encouraging others to see the benefits of conducting solo sweeps throughout the year.

Conor

Conor is originally from Clarence, NY. He has lived in Buffalo most of his life with the exception of a brief stint in Colorado where he first became interested in environmentalism.

Though clearly biased between my upbringings and Bills football fanaticism, he is beyond proud to live here as Buffalo and its people are truly the best of any other place he’s traveled. He loves the beer / brewery culture in Buffalo and work as a bartender at First Line Brewery in Orchard Park. He also enjoys hiking, camping and spending time with my partner and two dogs. He is currently study Environmental Science at The University at Buffalo as a junior going for my B.A. He’s a sailor in my spare time and am passionate about the general / ecological health and shared equity among the people and wildlife of Western New York’s waterways. He hopes to work in conservation and invasive species management related to marine ecosystems someday.

A favorite quote: “A thing is right when it tends to promote the integrity, beauty and stability of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

Anna

Anna is a born and raised Buffalonian who is passionate about protecting waterways in Western New York! 

In addition to Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, she volunteers with the Buffalo Zoo and United Solar Energy Supporters, focusing on educating communities on animal welfare, conservation, and renewable energy.  She believes that community engagement in environmental initiatives is critical to limiting climate change and preserving biodiversity.  She has a background in behavioral sciences, currently working as a Behavior Analyst providing therapy to children with autism, and as an adjunct professor at Daemen College in the Applied Behavior Analysis department.