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Volunteer Ambassador Program

Volunteer Ambassador Application
Program Overview

The Volunteer Ambassador Program raises community awareness of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and our mission to protect, restore, connect, and inspire by bringing watershed education and stewardship opportunities to communities in the Niagara River Watershed.  

Ambassadors are highly trained volunteers who are prepared to represent the organization at various community, school, and organization events and programs. 
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!

Training normally occurs in spring. Applications are reviewed in the winter each year.

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

Volunteer Ambassadors

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.

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!

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!

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.

Conor Ferguson

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 Purpera

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. 

Anne Burnidge

Anne is originally from the Chicago area and loves living near the Great Lakes. She enjoys spending her summers on and in Buffalo waterways as much as possible. She has a lifelong interest in protecting the environment and in the importance of clean water.

Anne is a Professor of Dance at UB and believes that the health of our bodies is intrinsically connected to the Earth and the health of its ecosystems. She is excited to be a Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Volunteer Ambassador to help others learn the importance of conserving, protecting and restoring our waterways.

Dani VanMarter

Dani hails from Niagara Falls, NY but has traveled all over the US and the world!

She loves spending time outdoors hiking, camping, foraging, gardening, kayaking, and taking pictures. Her passion for geology, hydrogeology, environmental remediation, and green infrastructure practices translates beautifully into the conversations she has with community members at events she attends as an Ambassador! Through these conversations, she aims to inspire a collective commitment to minimizing our impact, fostering a deeper connection with our limited freshwater resources, and safeguarding the health and resilience of our planet.