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President's Reception

Each year Water Education Colorado bestows an award on a Coloradoan who has a body of work in the field of water resources benefiting the Colorado public; a reputation among peers; a commitment to balanced and accurate information; among other qualities. Past recipients of the President's Award include John Fetcher (2007) and Ken and Ruth Wright (2008), Dick Bratton (2009), Russ George (2010), Nolan Doesken (2011), Representative Diane Hoppe and Senator Lewis Entz (2012), Jim Isgar (2013), Alan Hamel (2014), and Jim Lochhead (2015). In 2016, we retired the President's Award and renamed it the Diane Hoppe Leadership Award. Recipients of the Diane Hoppe Leadership Award include Governor John Hickenlooper (2016) and Eric Kuhn (2017). The award is presented at an invitational reception held each spring.
In 2010, Water Education Colorado introduced the Emerging Leader Award to honor recent work by a young Colorado professional to strengthen and improve water education in the state. Past winners include Eric Hecox (2010), Hannah Holm (2011), Amy Beatie (2013), Sean Cronin (2014), Greg Kernohan (2015), Heather Dutton (2016), and Drew Beckwith (2017).

2018 President's Reception

Join us for a night of celebration, networking, and awards as we honor water leadership and raise money for water education in Colorado at one of the best water events of the year!

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Please join Water Education Colorado for Our Annual Awards Event and Fundraiser

May 11, 2018
History Colorado Center

Celebrate with friends and colleagues!
Live auction with exciting, new adventures and experiences.

Purchase tickets here for $125
Prices increase after March 31 to $135
Includes seated dinner.

New this year! Become a table host and purchase a table for 10 for your company or invite your own guests.
Purchase your table here.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available—learn more here or by contacting Alicia Prescott at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


2016 President's Reception

Thanks to those who joined and supported us in May 2016 for a special evening in celebration of water education. 

 hickelooper Diane Hoppe Leadership Award: Governor John Hickenlooper
Emerging Leader Award: Heather Dutton, San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District


2017 President's Reception

Thank you to all who joined us and supported water education at the 2017 President's Reception on May 12 at the Denver Art Museum.

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Eric Kuhn WEB 1

Eric Kuhn, Colorado River District
Diane Hoppe Leadership Award


Eric Kuhn, “big thinker, deep thinker,” is how his colleague Jim Pokrandt describes him. Thirty-six years ago, in the spring of 1981, Kuhn moved from southern California to join the Colorado River District’s staff as assistant secretary engineer... Read more about Eric Kuhn here.


Drew Beckwith, Western Resource Advocates
Emerging Leader Award


Drew Beckwith, water policy manager for Western Resources Advocates, devotes himself to Colorado’s water conservation future. His particular focus is municipal water conservation and land use planning... Continue to read about Drew Beckwith here.


2015 President's Reception


The Colorado Foundation for Water Education thanks all who supported us at the 2015 President's Award Reception. Where we honored Jim Lochhead with the President's Award and Greg Kernohan with the Emerging Leader Award. Find photos from the night here.


Jim Lochhead, 2015 President's Award

Colorado and California have gone head to head over the waters of the Colorado River since the early 20th century. The Entire length of the river from its source in Rocky Mountain National Park to Mexico's delta reflects Jim's personal and professional lifeline. Continue reading about Jim Lochhead.

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Greg Kernohan, 2015 Emerging Leader Award

Greg Kernohan helps farmers and cities address water needs while benefitting waterfowl. For more than15 years, he’s served as manager of conservation programs for Ducks Unlimited in Colorado.  He’s been both  entrepreneurial and innovative in leading the South Platte Wetlands Focus Area Committee, managing the Union Mutual Ditch Company, and participating for the last 10 years as a member of the South Platte Basin Roundtable, most recently as its vice-chair. Continue reading about Greg Kernohan. 

Read more: 2015 President's Reception

Jim Isgar, 2013 president's Award Winner

Congratulations to Jim Isgar, receiving the President's Award, and Amy Beatie, receiving the Emerging Leader Award. Find photos from the 2013 President's Award reception on Facebook.


Jim Isgar, 2013 President's Award

Looking at Jim Isgar, a bit grizzled from recent chemotherapy treatments to battle cancer, I see a generous man who stands as tall as Mt. Hesperus. Due north of Isgar’s family farm and ranch, Mt. Hesperus in southwestern Colorado’s La Plata Mountains is one of four mountains considered sacred to the Navajo. Isgar irrigates off the La Plata River outside of Breen, southwest of Durango. Like his father, Art, he has served on the H.H. Ditch Company board of directors, including 25 years as its president. Continue reading about Jim Isgar


Amy Beatie, 2013 Emerging Leader Award

Amy Beatie fights drought by putting water back into parched Colorado streams for fish, wildlife and people. In the summer of 2012, when Western Slope streams were running precariously low, the nonprofit Colorado Water Trust she leads helped to hold some of the hardest-hit waters together.

“In February of 2012, the snow wasn’t catching up,” says Beatie. “In March we realized the snow wasn’t coming at all.  It looked like a bad drought would hit every basin in the state.”

In 2003, another crucially short water year, the Colorado General Assembly enacted a short-term water lease statute to aid the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s instream flow program in drought years. Continue reading about Amy Beatie

Alan Hamel, 2014 President's Award Winner



Alan Hamel, 2014 President's Award
Caring for People and Watersheds

Growing up in Pueblo in the 1950s, Alan Hamel liked to swin in the Arkansas River. His father, Bob, owned an automobile repair business. His mother, Jean, worked as a psychiatric technician at the state hospital. in those days, Pueblo was a gritty industrial town largely dependent on Colorado Fuel and Iron, its steel and iron mill the principal employer. Ethnically diverse, a town of working men and women located at the confluence of the Arkansas River and Foundation Creek, Pueblo had a long history of manufacturing rails for the narrow gauges that opened up the Colorado Rockies for mining, timbering, settlement and recreation. Read more about Alan Hamel



 Sean Cronin, 2014 Emerging Leader Award
Shifting Rivers, Changing Course

Sean Cronin got used to planning for drought in his former job as a water resources manager for the City of Greeley, but since the devastating September 2013 flood in northern Colorado, he's been coping with way too much water.

As excutive director of the St. Vrain & Left Hand Water Conservancy District, Sean is helping to piece together relationships necessary to construct more resilient water systems and riverine habitat for the near and long term. Read more about Sean Cronin




Diane Hoppe and Lewis Entz, 2012 President's Award Winners



In celebrating its 10th Anniversary, the Colorado Foundation for Water Education presented its President's Award for lifetime achievement in water education to Senator Lewis Entz and Representative Diane Hoppe. We enjoyed keynote remarks from Senator Mark Udall. Missed it? View photos from the event.

In the spring of the devastating 2002 drought, Representative Diane Hoppe and Senator Lewis Entz steered CFWE into existence.  In the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s water projects bill they co-sponsored that year, the General Assembly established this new statewide non-profit water education organization “to promote a better understanding of water issues through educational opportunities and resources so Colorado citizens will understand water as a limited resource and will make informed decisions.”

Chairs of the House and Senate water and agriculture committees respectively, Hoppe and Entz served on the Foundation’s first Board of Trustees, Hoppe as President.  As the drought deepened into 2003, so did the need to communicate personally with Coloradans about the realities of water use and conservation in a water scarce land.

Together with the other members of the original Board under the leadership of Executive Director Karla Brown, they spurred development of the River Basin Tours, the Water Leaders’ Program, the Citizen’s Guide series to essential water topics and Headwaters magazine, a periodical featuring on the ground stories of water use and conservation.  In the magazine’s inaugural Fall 2003 edition, Hoppe wrote:

"In this issue we recount the 2002 drought—its severity and what it says about our vulnerability to future droughts  . . . growth, legal developments, drought, floods and the use of water in the everyday lives of Coloradans are some of the very public and personal themes we will explore in every issue."

-by Justice Greg Hobbs

Read more about Representative Diane Hoppe and Senator Lewis Entz.


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