Public Health Achievement Awards

The Washington County Board of Commissioners and the Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment would like to recognize and honor residents who devote their time, energy, and talents to improve the public health of individuals, families, and communities in Washington County.

These residents help families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and leaders better understand the value of public health and encourage the adoption of preventive habits that help promote health in many facets of life. The Washington County Public Health Achievement Awards will be presented annually during National Public Health Week.

National Public Health week is celebrated as part of an initiative to create the healthiest nation in one generation. The efforts of the people recognized by the Public Health Achievement Awards provide tremendous support to this initiative. For more information about award categories, selection criteria, and the nomination form, click here.


Washington County Public Health Achievement Award Winners Announced


The Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment is pleased to announce the inaugural winners of the Public Health Achievement Awards. The awards recognize and honor residents who devote their time, energy, and talents to improve the public health of individuals, families, communities, and environments in Washington County.

A diverse panel of department staff evaluated the 12 nominations across the three categories before selecting the 2017 winners. Winners were celebrated during National Public Health Week, April 3-7, 2017, with a special visit and award presentation by department staff.

About the 2017 winners



Cathy Hannigan, Individual Category


According to the nominator, Hannigan has provided education to second grade students in Washington County for 12 years through her volunteer time teaching a series of lessons about the environment. Starting with classes in Oakdale, Skyview, Castle, and Eagle Point Elementary schools, Hannigan focused on lessons that covered four topics: waste, reuse, reduce, and recycling. For the last 10 years, she has focused on three second grade classes at Eagle Point Elementary School. “Cathy’s willingness to volunteer and her enthusiasm makes learning about waste, reuse, reduce, and recycling fun for the students, which is important for learning and changing life-long habits,” wrote her nominator. Hannigan also serves as the part-time receptionist at Oakdale City Hall.

The Youth United Way of Washington County-East, Youth Category


The Youth United Way of Washington County-East, is a group of 8th through 12th grade students who work together to raise funds for youth and hunger programs in the Washington County community. For their work organizing and executing the annual fundraising event, “Empty Bowls,” they were nominated for a youth category Public Health Achievement Award. During the group’s “Empty Bowls” event, soup and bread donated from local restaurants are served as dinner to guests from the community. Guests are also able to take home locally donated pottery bowls, and participate in a silent auction. Past “Empty Bowls” events have raised $4,000 for local youth and hunger programs in the Stillwater area.

The Carpenter Nature Center, Community Category


According to its nomination form, the Carpenter Nature Center “promotes health and healthy behaviors by providing 10 miles of hiking trails for all to enjoy. There is no admission fee in order to insure that people of all economic backgrounds can connect with nature.” Part of that connection includes the environmental stewardship Carpenter fosters by striving to be a zero waste organization. The center educates visitors – whether school groups, runners and spectators for the annual Apple Blossom Races, or weddings – on its zero waste practices and waste reduction goals. The 2016 Apple Blossom Races achieved a 90 percent waste reduction rate, equating to about half an ounce of waste produced per runner. Carpenter plays a vital role in the hands-on education of 7,000 to 10,000 students and 17,000 to 20,000 visitors each year, and in doing so models the importance of environmental practices and healthy behaviors for the community.