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Golden Bear recognized as local watershed association volunteer of the year

Tech student Katie Stanley sits near a storm drain just off the sidewalk. Her jacket is high-visibility, and so is her smile as she looks up at the camera from her painting work.Stanley working on a project to paint storm drains.

WVU Tech student Katie Stanley was recently honored as the 2018 Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Piney Creek Watershed Association.

Stanley, a junior biology major, ultimately wants to become a veterinarian. She says that volunteer work has helped her find extra confidence as she chases that dream.

“Volunteering with PCWA offers to extend my knowledge base, and work with other professionals and business leaders to gain information and experiences that can’t just be sought out in a classroom,” she said.

“Volunteering helps me grow to be the best person I can only dream to be. Volunteering opens up my heart to the true hardships that people are experiencing all around the world, and I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most dedicated individuals,” she said.

Danielle Stewart is the executive director of the Piney Creek Watershed Association. She said Stanley was an excellent choice for the award and pointed to the Tech student’s nearly 100 hours of volunteer time in 2018.

Stewart said that, from the start, Stanley became a valuable volunteer for the organization.

“She took charge of our Pet Waste Disposal outreach campaign. She took individual pet waste disposal bag dispensers to every local veterinarian office and to the Raleigh County Humane Society. With each dispenser, there was a pet waste pledge that people signed stating they pledged to pick up after their pets. Katie then went back and collected the pledges for us,” she said.

Stanley also worked on multiple clean-up projects, helped paint storm drains on Earth Day, assisted in the implementation of the Association’s butterfly garden and participated in new water quality testing and monitoring program.

WVU Tech volunteers stand at the edge of a stream in the summer, greenery all around them.Stanley works with volunteers at a water sampling site.

“She spent several hours each week going to our sampling sites and did site characterizations, looking at width, depth, algae and the makeup of the creek bed,” said Stewart. “She also took a leading role in the fall semester as we formed teams to actually do the monthly sampling.”

“Katie is always a pleasure to be around and everything she does, she does well. She is just awesome,” she added.

A Beckley native, Stanley says she’s excited to see her school become a bigger part of her community.

“Just one of the advantages of having a diverse campus with people from all over the world is their vast background. The college puts higher education back in the core of Beckley, and with these multidisciplinary talents all working together we can achieve endless endeavors. I know that this campus has already made a great impact on Beckley’s future. It is very exciting to see what is next,” she said.