On a recent June evening at the Seacoast Science Center, longtime Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Stewards volunteer Joe Stieglitz (above, right) has received the Aquarion Water Company Environmental Champion Award for New Hampshire. Annually, Aquarion’s Environmental Champion Awards recognize organizations and individuals in the business, non‑profit, adult, and student categories.

“If Miriam Webster allowed a person’s name to be the definition of CONSERVATIONIST, it would simply be: Joe Stieglitz,” the Stewards wrote in their nomination for Joe. He has been an invaluable volunteer to both the Stewards and the Reserve for close to 30 years, in addition to recently rejoining the Stewards’ Board of Trustees.

“I remember when the Great Bay Stewards came into existance,” Joe says. “It was an exciting time; consultants came from Wells Reserve to help with the many details.”  As one of the original board members, Joe ended up taking 20 years of meeting minutes and also served as interim president of the Stewards board.

Joe is one of those volunteers who, without being asked, appears at just the right moment to help.  At the Great Bay Stewards’ annual Art of Great Bay fundraiser, he paints panels for displaying the artwork, sets up the raffle, brings food for the opening reception, manages the Saturday tea held for seniors from assisted living facilities, and is there at the end of the show to help with clean-up. He runs all of the post-race food for the Great Bay 5K, picking up pizzas at 5 a.m., warming chowder and hot cider, managing dozens of volunteers and donations, and again can be found cleaning up at the end of the event. He has been helping with both events for as long as we can remember.

Throughout the year, Joe serves as a Discovery Center volunteer educator for school field trips, interpreting the natural and cultural significance of the estuary for elementary school students from around the state. Joe has also founded and managed the store within the Discovery Center, and often organizes workdays on the grounds with his church group.  He can always be found at the Stewards annual clean-up at the Great Bay Community Wildlife Garden.  In the last decade alone, Joe has given over 2,000 hours of his time toward protecting and conserving Great Bay. In addition, he is a major supporter of Stewards and Reserve projects, including the rebuilding of the Center’s boardwalk through the estuary, and the campaign to open Glenn Cove to public access. “It is my joy to be a small part of this Great Bay family,” he says.

Stieglitz was joined in receiving the award by business winner Apparel Impact, non-profit winner Seabrook-Hamptons Estuary Alliance, and student winner Margaret Maloney. Find more on the other winners here – and congratulations to all of them!