Passing of the guide paddle

After 21 years serving as the sole staff person for Friends of the White River, the organization’s executive director is retiring. Kevin Hardie has been involved with the nonprofit since its inception in 1985, first as a founding member and then as an officer on its board of directors. His staff position, for what had been up to then an all-volunteer organization, was created in 2000 after a controversial fish kill episode which made national news. That chemical discharge from a manufacturing plant in Anderson was blamed for killing as many as five million fish. Friends played a vital role in making sure that the polluter was eventually held accountable for paying to restore the river’s habitat.

Since then, Hardie has helped with the establishment, funding, and ongoing expansion of the tremendously successful River School program, which has taken many hundreds of students as well as elected officials, policy leaders and other community leaders on educational river trips throughout Central Indiana. He has also helped coordinate the award-winning Annual Downtown White River Cleanup, which has involved more than 6,000 volunteers who have collected more than 2,000,000 pounds of trash, tires, and illegally dumped debris from the banks of the White River over the course of more than 30 years.

He has served on many planning and advisory boards, including the White River Citizens Advisory Council, the DNR Trails Advisory Board and the White River Vision Plan Stakeholder Committee. “Kevin retires leaving the Friends in a strong position to continue with its present projects and undertake additional efforts to enhance the waterway,” noted Adam Barnes, the president of its board of directors.

Please congratulate Kevin on all he has accomplished at kevin@friendsofwhiteriver.org!

If you would like to make a donation to FOWR in honor of Kevin’s 21 years of service, you can do so here.

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cleanup volunteers
FOWR Board Member John Hazlett (left), incoming ED Scott Salmon (center), and retiring ED Kevin Hardie (right) coordinate volunteers at the 2021 Downtown Cleanup. Photo by John Weaver, FOWR member and cleanup volunteer.

The FOWR Board of Directors has named Scott Salmon to take Kevin’s place as the organization’s executive director. Scott began volunteering with Friends in 2008 as a raft guide through the River School program, and has worked several downtown cleanups and many float trips since moving to Indianapolis in 2012.

He holds a M.P.A. from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a B.S. from Indiana State University. He spent nearly five years with the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife managing pollution-caused fish kill response and riparian restoration, conducting environmental risk assessments, and planning aquatic habitat projects such as low-dam removals and streambank restoration.

Scott has held teaching, logistics, and leadership positions with numerous outdoor education organizations over his career, and maintains Wilderness First Responder and PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certifications. He currently serves as a volunteer board member with the Indiana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and on the Indiana Conservation Alliance Steering Committee.

Scott can be reached at scott@friendsofwhiteriver.org.


Friends of the White River relies heavily on your membership and generous donations to conduct our River School and Clean Our Watershed programs, as well as advocate for public policy decisions that improve water quality in and recreational access to White River.

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