2015 Environmental Achievement Award
Director of the Town of Bristol’s Department of Parks and Recreation
Although Walter Burke does not reside in the Town of Bristol, nor does his job description require him to promote environmental awareness or advocacy, Walter has incorporated Save The Bay’s mission into everything he accomplishes in his professional capacity as the Director of the Town of Bristol’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Walter has successfully applied for and received literally hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Town of Bristol, always with habitat restoration at the forefront of every project he undertakes.
Walter collaborated with Wenley Ferguson and Save The Bay in the restoration of the Silver Creek salt marsh in Bristol. The Department of Parks and recreation now maintains the public park at this site.
Most recently, Walter undertook an ambitious restoration project of the Bristol Town Beach and the surrounding fields and parking areas to affect an 80% improvement in the water quality of Narragansett Bay at the Town Beach. By regrading the area, including retention ponds and swales, and by adding native vegetation to the site, he has eliminated a significant amount of polluted runoff from entering the Bay, thereby dramatically reducing the number of beach closures due to contamination at this popular public swimming site.
Walter’s commitment to incorporating an environmental element in all of his professional efforts makes him quite worthy of recognition by Save The Bay, especially now that his work on the Bristol Town Beach is completed.