The Clinch River Valley Initiative was recently selected for the Tennessee River Basin Network’s Aquatic Biodiversity Award for work in education and outreach initiatives in the region.

“The Network’s coverage area spans all the way from northern Georgia through the Smokies, Asheville, and to our region and westward into Tennessee, so it’s a big honor to be selected,” said Wally Smith, assistant professor of biology at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

UVa-Wise is a partner with CRVI and many employees of the College work on CRVI’s educational outreach efforts.

“We’ve had a number of students and alumni contribute to the work we received the award for, including the curriculum book we recently published and CRVI’s annual Clinch River Environmental Education Symposium for K-12 science educators,” Smith added.

At a recent meeting, the Tennessee Valley Authority gave awards to partner groups in two categories: Education/Outreach and Science/Management. A $5,000 cash prize was donated to each winner’s Environmental Conservation organization of choice. CRVI received the award for its project that focused on educating children and adults on aquatic biodiversity and the importance of Virginia’s Hidden River.

“These award winners, like those in the past, are well deserving of this recognition,” Evan Crews, senior manager of Natural Resources Management for TVA, said in a news release. “Their accomplishments represent the dedicated people and organizations that care for—and have had an enormous positive impact on—water resources and the aquatic biodiversity throughout the Tennessee River Basin.”

The Tennessee River Basin Network is a joint effort organized by TVA, with strong support by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Tennessee Aquarium. Partnership groups include federal agencies and tribal nations, state Agencies and regional partnerships, and non-governmental organizations and local community groups.