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Dear friend of FLOW,

We’re thrilled to announce that our colleague and mentor, FLOW founder Jim Olson, last week received one of the first Large Lake Champion Awards presented by the International Association for Great Lakes Research. The Ann Arbor–based IAGLR is a scientific organization made up of researchers studying the Great Lakes, other large lakes of the world, and their watersheds. The new award recognizes and honors individuals whose work has made significant contributions to sharing the social, economic, and ecological understanding of these lakes.

Jim’s award is a richly deserved recognition of a career spent defending the Great Lakes and educating thousands of people across the continent on the importance of these precious fresh waters and the rights of the public to protect these waters under a legal principle known as the public trust doctrine.

“We want to express our appreciation for Jim’s extraordinary knowledge of environmental, water, and public interest law, and how he has used his skill set to advocate for the protection of these unique and essential ecosystems,” said IAGLR awards committee co-chair Neil Rooney.

Jim received the news with the same humility he has brought to his decades of work protecting the public waters of the Great Lakes—at the surface, in the ground, and from the tap. 

“This caught me by complete surprise,” Jim said. “So many dedicated people around our Great Lakes are deserving of this honor. I receive it in recognition of the many clients, organizations, people I’ve worked with over the years, especially the inspiring staff, board, and supporters of FLOW. This is as much theirs as it is mine."

Everyone at FLOW is proud to be associated with Jim. Join us in celebrating Jim Olson’s public trust work, and consider a donation to the Olson-Dempsey Fund in honor of Jim’s lasting positive impact on FLOW and the Great Lakes. To learn more about the Olson-Dempsey Fund, its purpose, and how you can participate in honoring Jim Olson and fellow luminary Dave Dempsey, please visit FLOW’s website.

In solidarity,

Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director

P.S. – Another luminary who has spent her career speaking up for our right to fresh water is Maude Barlow, a Canadian author and water activist who recently published her new book, Still Hopeful: Lessons from a Lifetime of Activism. FLOW’s livestream conversation with Maude on June 15 will feature Jim Olson’s video homage to his friend and fellow water protector. Click here to register for the free event, an intimate hour with the Jane Goodall of global water.

There’s more: we’re excited to welcome our new Operations Manager, Drew Broadway to the FLOW team. Click here to learn more about Drew. And while you’re on FLOW’s website, please view our latest blog about how faster water testing aids more accurate beach closures, and discover our interview with David Hardin, author of Standpipe: Delivering Water in Flint.

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