Award honors volunteer’s service to wildfire education

Volunteer Service Award being given to Mary Prescott

Volunteer Service Award to Mary Prescott for 15 years of service to community Firewise

MAITLAND, Fla., Sept. 14, 2016 — Tuesday afternoon, the St. Johns River Water Management District presented Mary Prescott from Orlando, Florida, with the Bob Owens award for volunteer service. Prescott received the award for her service to her local Firewise program, a national program that emphasizes community involvement and educates residents on ways to reduce the risk of wildland fire igniting homes.

“We’re proud to celebrate Ms. Prescott’s dedication to the community through the Firewise program. She has been a true partner and conduit for community education and feedback,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “By working together, we are taking a proactive approach to help protect homes and land from wildfire.”

Since 2001, Prescott has served as the Firewise chairperson for the Wedgefield community in Orange County. Under her leadership, the program garnered strong support not only from the district and her homeowner’s association, but also from the Florida Forest Service, Orange County Fire and Rescue, Orange County Environmental Protection Division, and the University of Florida Orange County Cooperative Extension Service.

“I am honored to be receiving this award,” said award recipient, Prescott. “It is not a matter of if a wildfire will affect our community, but when. Education and mitigation are our main goals; we are able to accomplish these goals by our partnerships with many local agencies and the support of the Wedgefield residents.”

In addition to Wedgefield, the district also partners with Firewise communities in Flagler and Brevard counties to discuss wildfire safety and to review prescribed burn plans for nearby district-owned lands.

The district award, which was presented during yesterday’s Governing Board meeting, is named for the late Bob Owens of Ormond Beach, a vocal supporter of environmental programs who attended nearly every District Governing Board meeting from the mid-1970s until his death in 1991.