Archives for March 2015

KACEE Award, Cleanup Results, and Volunteers Needed

KACEE Award for Kate Delehunt

KateDKate Delehunt, Friends of the Kaw’s Educational Specialist, will be honored on Friday, April 11 at the 2015 Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education Awards Celebration of Kansas Association of Conservation and Education (KACEE.) She will receive the John K. Strickler Award. Kate has played a significant role in environmental education in Metro Kansas City for the past 35 years. She joined Friends of the Kaw’s staff in August of 2014 and helped to develop the Kids About Water (KAW) Project.


Kansas River Cleanup Results

IMG_1651IMG_1675With the help of Westar’s Green Team, over 35 volunteers removed over 300 tires and metal debris from bank of the Kansas River below Westar’s power line east of Lawrence on Saturday morning, March 14. Volunteers braved a chilly morning to help dig tires out of the bank and they also collected over 50 bags of trash and recylables
Two line trucks lifted tires and debris to the top of the bank where two bobcats moved waste to three large containers. Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Waste Management arranged for the proper disposal of the tires and waste.
This was a very successful activity of Friends of the Kaw’s Douglas County Heritage Grant.


Earth Day Volunteers Needed!

If you can help us man a booth at one of the following Earth Day events please e-mail Dawn.

Saturday, March 28 – Prairie Village Earth Fair from 10am to 12:30pm or 12:30 to 3pm at Shawnee Mission East (75th and Mission Road.)

Saturday, March 28 – Johnson County Healthy Yards Expo from 9am to 11:30 or 11:30am to 2pm at the Shawnee Civic Center (SW corner of Phlumm and Johnson Drive)

Saturday, April 11 – Earth Day Celebration from 11am to 1:30pm or 1:30 to 4pm at South Park.

Saturday, April 18 – Party for the Planet at the Topeka Zoo in Gage Park from 9am to 12noon or 12 noon to 3pm.

Sunday, April 19 – Topeka Green Fair from 1 to 4pm at the City/County Library

We will set up the booths, have all the materials and train you at the beginning of your shift. Thanks – these are really fun events and you meet lots of interesting people.

New Riverkeeper, Public Meeting, and River Cleanup

Welcome OUR new Kansas Riverkeeper

Dawn Buehler

Dawn Buehler, Kansas Riverkeeper

Dawn Buehler, Kansas Riverkeeper

Dawn Buehler will begin her duties as the Kansas Riverkeeper on March 1, 2015. Growing up on a farm on the plains of Kansas, she knew at young age how much she loved the land, water and nature. Dawn was born and raised in the Kaw River Valley in DeSoto on a 2,000 acre crop farm. The family farm ran along the Kansas River in DeSoto and she developed a personal relationship with the river. She spent her childhood riding alongside her father learning about the importance of taking care of the soil, water and providing for the family. She also spent many hours on the beautiful Kansas River fishing, camping, canoeing and riding in her Dad’s airboat. Her love for the river began at this early age when she would sit and watch the sunset on the river at the end of each farm day.

Dawn continued to help on the farm and also went on to college after high school and earned both a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife Conservation from Oregon State University and a Bachelor in Business Administration from Baker University. Dawn has spent her career working as a conservationist, accountant and farmer. Dawn’s passion is watershed management and finding ways we can all work together to improve our watershed and the quality of the Kansas River. As a Kansas native, Dawn has a vested interest and passion for the river.

Dawn is happiest when she is outdoors. You can often find her fishing, hiking, kayaking, reading and exploring. Dawn lives with her family, including two chocolate labrador retrievers, on their farm south of Eudora.

We would like to thank the tireless efforts of our Riverkeeper Seach Committee – they posted the job discription, considered over 25 applications, held phone and personal interviews and hired our new Riverkeeper. The search committee was composed of the following Board Members: Bill Modrcin, chair; Sarah Hill-Nelson, Heidi Mehl, Mike Rawitch and Kelly Savage.

Our former Kansas Riverkeeper, Laura Calwell, is still on board with Friends of the Kaw on a part time basis. Her title is changing to Executive Director. Laura will focus on assisting our new Riverkeeper, managing day-to-day activities outside of advocacy and working with Educational Specialist, Kate Delehunt, to fund and promote our educational efforts for schools in particular the Kids About Water Project.


Attend a Public Input Meeting for Setting Water Supply Goals for the Kansas River Basin


Kansas Water Regional Goal Leadership Teams to hear water supply priorities Recently the 14 Regional Goal Leadership Teams met to begin the water supply goal setting process to help develop water supply goals for each region. The role of each team is to participate in a public scoping process in their region, develop and draft water supply goals for their region based on public input and available resource condition information.

Beginning in March, the 14 teams will be holding public meetings in their region to hear input from stakeholders and citizens that will assist each team with drafting the goals for the future water supply needs in each region. Recommended water supply goals should seek to implement the following Vision statement:

Kansans act on a shared commitment to have the water resources necessary to support the state’s social, economic and natural resource needs for current and future generations.

The public will be asked to share their input on specific topics that are water supply issues for their region. Trained facilitators from Kansas State University Research and Extension as well as the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy will be helping with the goal development and facilitate the public meetings. Region stakeholders and citizens are encouraged to attend one of the input sessions.

Monday, March 9: DeSoto, KS – 7 p.m., De Soto Senior Center, 32905 W. 84th Street

Wednesday, March 11: Manhattan, KS – 7p.m., Fire Department Headquarters, 2000 Denison Avenue

The teams will present the proposed draft regional water supply goals to the Kansas Water Authority in May 2015. The KWA will provide advice towards further development of the regional goals with final goals to be approved by the Authority in August 2015.

For more information on the upcoming public meetings in other regions to be held in March, water supply information about each region or read the final version of the Long-Term Vision for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas, visit

Kansas River Cleanup on Saturday, March 14

Westar's line truck pulling debris from down river!Resutls from De Soto CleanupFriends of the Kaw will sponsor a cleanup on the Kaw from 9am to 2pm on Saturday, March 14. Meet at the corner of 1550 Rd. (11th Street) and 1600 Rd. just east of Lawrence. Wear long pants, long sleeved shirts, sturdy shoes and bring work gloves and a shovel. We will be going down the bank to dig up tires and metal debris so this is not a good activity for kids under 12 years old. Westar Green Team will bring a line truck to lift tires and debris to the top of the bank. Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Waste Management will assist in recycling as much material as possible. This is an activity of Friends of the Kaw’s Douglas County Natural and Cultural Heritage Grant. Rain date for this cleanup is Saturday, March 28. For more information call 785 312 7200 or contact the Kansas Riverkeeper.