During the Sept. 12, 2023, Floating Classroom aboard the Hiawatha Paddleboat in Williamsport, former board treasurer and secretary Ann Fisher and her husband, Warren, received the inaugural 2022 Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association President's Award from former president Kathy Snavely.
"Despite Ann’s protests, it is my deep privilege - with 500 percent board approval - to award the first President’s Award to Ann and Warren Fisher, for their tireless commitment and dedication to the MSRKA," said Snavely during the presentation.
"When our first Riverkeeper gave us her one-month notice (in late 2019), Ann Fisher and I weren’t remotely prepared. We were, at the time, President and Secretary/Treasurer of a very small board of directors. Ann and I worked through every issue together, and there were some pretty monumental issues," said Snavely. "She was instrumental in the hiring process for John Zaktansky back in 2020, helped shape and mentor a new team of leaders for the association and she and Warren have been invaluable assets in fundraising for the association's work, as well."
Ann Fisher originally joined the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association Board of Directors in 2017, two years after the nonprofit was founded. In addition to serving previously as secretary and treasurer of the association, she continues to oversee the every-other-month Nature Book Club meeting for the association.
"Ann and Warren have been steady guides and mentors ever since I have agreed to be Riverkeeper in 2020," said Zaktansky. "They truly care about water quality and are involved in being watchdogs for drinking water in their local community that is near a major construction project. When you look back at some of our association's big wins of the past few years, none of those would have been possible without Ann and Warren and their impacts on our association."
Ann Fisher (Ph.D., University of Connecticut) retired from Penn State University, where she taught environmental economics and conducted research on people’s perceptions of water quality, their willingness to pay for environmental improvements, and the potential impacts of climate change on the mid-Atlantic region.
Earlier, she worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency headquarters, developing methods to estimate the value of environmental improvements and how to communicate effectively about the risks of pollutants. Her work experience reflects her passion for a clean environment--especially clean water because it is crucial for healthy ecosystems and for healthy people. She is a long-time member of Trout Unlimited and enjoys fishing in the Susquehanna watershed and elsewhere.
Warren is a long-time trout angler. He grew up in Williamsport, often fishing with his father and grandfathers. Warren was very active in Boy Scouts; as a counselor at Camp Kline on Pine Creek, he was responsible for capturing wildlife for the campers to observe. Warren added fly fishing and has been a member of Trout Unlimited since the early 1970s. He served as treasurer for the R.B. Winter Chapter for about 20 years.
Warren majored in Economics at Lycoming College, and earned a Ph.D. from U. of Conn. He taught Economics at SUNY-Fredonia, then did research for the Fish and Wildlife Service before returning to teaching at Susquehanna University. His interests continue in fishing, water quality and environmental issues.
"Ann has been an invaluable and steadfast resource to our organization. Her knowledge, resources and effort not only helped create MSRKA but are still a driving force behind our mission today," said Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association President Marissa Crames. " I only hope that this recognition shows how appreciative we are of all she has given us."
The glass award was developed by Heather Fountain of Fountain Glass Art.
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.