Each year at River Givers we highlight a few amazing individuals for their contributions to the protection and restoration of the Huron River. Thank you to Keely Cox, Craig Kivi, Iva Corbett and Dick Norton for your dedication and commitment to our mission!
Keely Cox, Trailblazer
HRWC is excited to name Keely Cox the first recipient of our Trailblazer Award, which recognizes youth and young adults in our community who are dedicated to studying, protecting, and advocating for the health of the Huron River and their local communities. Keely volunteered as a field intern and Geographic Information System (GIS) technician during the summer of 2021. During her time with HRWC, Keely exhibited a keen interest in science and a deep love of nature, which she attributes to a childhood spent hiking in local recreation areas and paddling the Huron with her dad. Keely recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s in Earth and Environmental Science, and she is off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail! After her adventure, she plans to explore new landscapes as a research technician wherever opportunities arise—preferably somewhere near mountains.
Craig Kivi, Headwaters Award
Craig Kivi, Big Portage Lake resident and owner of Golden Drake Realty, is not your average real estate broker. Craig first contacted HRWC to arrange a natural area field assessment on a client’s property in Hamburg Township. Since then, Craig has purchased and converted two properties to preserves (including the last remaining natural shoreline on Portage Lake), convinced a client to explore protection opportunities for their property, and personally removed 860 pieces of plastic from Portage Lake. Says Craig, “These two preserves are not the last ones. I’ve created Natural Shorelines Forever (NSF) to protect similar properties.”
Iva Corbett, Volunteer of the Year (or so)
“Hi, I’m Iva, tell me what I can do to help.” This was Wendy Palms’s first introduction to Iva Corbett, and she quickly learned that Iva meant it! Iva and her late husband Walter Weber started supporting HRWC in 2014 when they hosted HRWC’s Suds on the River fundraiser event at their historic home on Ford Lake. Over the years Iva has continued to contribute her time and talents. She has processed mailings, rearranged furniture, and inventoried a storage unit, always with a smile and a hearty, “Bring it on!” Last summer she walked local neighborhoods helping us deliver Cora Balls (laundry devices that catch microplastic fibers) to Ann Arbor residents. She says her most memorable job was washing and drying 300 glasses for Suds. She truly deserves this honor and our gratitude! Iva still texts regularly and asks, “What can I do to help?”
Dick Norton, Hall of Fame
Dick Norton has been a HRWC board member since 2002 when he first moved to Ann Arbor. He saw an ad in the paper looking for volunteers and thought it was a “cool idea”—one that would allow him to contribute to his new community and a way to keep up on local issues. Well, that cool idea led to involvement in the Finance Committee, Executive Committee, and service as Board President for four years. During his time as President, Dick oversaw the Executive Director transition from Laura Rubin to Rebecca Esselman—an enormous task. Impressively, Dick earned both a law degree and a PhD in Urban Planning at the same time. His expertise and steady council have helped HRWC on issues from leases and litigation to climate change and resilient communities. Those who know Dick know how humble he is, despite his countless contributions to HRWC.
—Kate Laramie, Ric Lawson, Kris Olsson, and Wendy Palms
This blog post was originally published in the Huron River Report, Summer 2022.