The local nonprofit organization Putah Creek Council announced the Putah Creek Champion award recipients for 2019 to be Brian Butzin and Melanie Truan. These two volunteers from the community received awards for their work supporting Putah Creek and the work of Putah Creek Council at the Berryessa Brewery on Wednesday, April 17 during the annual Potluck Celebration of Volunteers.
Winters resident Brian Butzin was awarded for his significant contributions to Putah Creek Council over the past eight years. Brian started volunteering with the Council in 2011 and joined the Stewardship Team in 2012, making him one of the longest-serving members of the Team. Early on, he became an indispensable part of the native plant nursery program and has volunteered at over 150 nursery events. In addition, he has helped lead planting events, collected native seeds and cuttings, built nest boxes, repaired equipment and served as a Site Captain in the annual Putah Creek Cleanup event. Overall, Brian has attended over 200 Putah Creek Council events and donated over 500 hours in Putah Creek Council. As Putah Creek Council’s Amy Williams noted, “Brian’s immense amount of experience leading volunteers with Putah Creek Council has rendered him one of the most imminently qualified leaders we have the good fortune to have on our team.”
Dr. Melanie Truan is a Research Associate in the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. In 2018 she published a seminal paper highlighting her long-term monitoring of birds along Putah Creek, demonstrating how ongoing efforts to improve habitat conditions and provide additional water flows led to bird population densities more than doubling over the past two decades. She leads periodic wildlife surveys, participates in numerous restoration projects, and presents at public events. Melanie can often be found along the creek with students and interested citizen scientists sharing her knowledge and energy. Rich Marovich, the Putah Creek Streamkeeper, explained “Melanie has been monitoring for 20 years and that continuity of expertise in wildlife and ecology has been invaluable. We wouldn’t really know if our restoration work has been successful without her hard-earned data.”