In December, the Hudson River Watershed Alliance selected Friends of the Great Swamp (FrOGS) to receive the annual Watershed Wavemaker award in its watershed group category “for their long history doing watershed education, research and awareness building; managing a large group of active and dedicated volunteers; and thinking creatively about how to confront new challenges to their watershed, including climate change.”
The award, given at the annual Toast to the Tribs Awards Benefit dinner on December 4 at The Falcon in Marlboro, NY, recognized FrOGS as a unique watershed organization working on behalf of a unique part of the Hudson River Watershed, the Great Swamp. The award is given in honor of citizens and groups working to protect tributaries of the Hudson River.
Founded in 1990, FrOGS is one of the oldest watershed groups in the Hudson River Watershed. It remains an all-volunteer organization, trying to protect the health of the Great Swamp through research, education and conservation. Research has included water quality monitoring since 2005 and biological research studying the unique species of animals and plants in the swamp. Education has involved naturalist-led canoe/kayak trips and hikes, website and social media outreach, a video, a “traveling quilt,” and after-school programs, among other things. FrOGS has worked with diverse partners in land acquisition for permanent conservation.
A “headwaters” watershed, the Great Swamp is unique geologically in that its underlying rocks are calcareous, making the water in its basin and two rivers “sweeter.” Because of this, it supports more than 20 different natural communities within the 6,000 acres of the swamp itself and 12 more in the 62,000-acre surrounding watershed. Birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, mammals – some of them rare – live in or migrate through the corridors of the Great Swamp. People also depend on it, as it supplies drinking water for those in the Croton River portion of the watershed.
For more information on the Hudson River Watershed Alliance visit HudsonWatershed.org online. For more information about Friends of the Great Swamp, visit FrOGS-NY.org online.