June 2016 Clean Water Champion: Rayann Dionne

This month we’re happy to introduce you to another new PREP Management Committee member and awesome champion for clean water in the Hampton-Seabrook estuary! Rayann Dionne is the Conservation Coordinator for the Town of Hampton and has been an active member of the Seabrook-Hamptons Estuaries Alliance. Rayann brings an infectious energy and a true pride of mission to her work on protecting and preserving the Hampton-Seabrook estuary. We are so proud to have her join our Management Committee.
PREP Water Champ photo - RD                  Rayann with her daughter Brindle (4) and son Blake (2) at Plaice Cove in Hampton. 

PREP: How long have you been a champion for clean water/healthy environment?
Rayann: I was very fortunate to grow up on a lake in NH.  It was the biggest backyard I could ask for.  I loved spending time crawfish hunting, fishing, swimming, canoeing, ice skating and cross-country skiing.  One of my fondest memories was from the first grade when I brought a sunfish I caught to school for show-and-tell.  I vividly remember holding tightly to my plastic pink Easter basket trying to prevent water from spilling during the bumpy bus ride to school.

PREP: How’d you get started in protecting clean water/shorelands/coasts?
Rayann: I was first introduced to the science of protecting our water resources during career day in junior high where I was able to shadow, Natalie Landry, who at that time worked in the Limnology Department at NHDES.  Natalie was very instrumental in helping me explore this field because she graciously allowed me to continue volunteering during my high school summers.  This interest then transferred into other DES internships during college summers.

PREP: What’s your favorite thing to do with or on water?
Rayann: I love either being on a lake or these days at the ocean during the quieter/off-season times, when you feel like you have the whole place to yourself.  It has been truly enjoyable watching my children explore these places and seeing their curiosity, surprise, and desire to understand the world around them.  Simple things like digging in the sand now take on a whole new perspective.

PREP: What’s been your proudest moment as a clean water/climate/environmental Champion?
Rayann: For the last eight years, I have worked as the Town of Hampton’s Conservation Coordinator.  I’m really proud of the steps our community has taken to better protect our natural resources.  We’ve made great strides in preserving open space, reducing our maximum allowable sealed surface, and most recently increasing select stream buffers to 100 feet.  At times, I’ve been skeptical that an ordinance change would be accepted and each time I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming support from our residents.  It makes all the extra meetings and hard work put in by the Conservation Commission and other supportive partners worthwhile.

PREP: What’s one simple thing you would tell somebody to do to protect the places around the Seacoast they love?
Rayann: Join a local board. You don’t have to be an environmental expert to join a local commission, board, or advocacy group.  These groups are successful because their members have different backgrounds and expertise; it’s their common goal or interest that unites them.

PREP is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources. PREP is supported in part by an EPA matching grant and is housed within the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.