Honorees and Special Guests
Spirit of the Hudson Award
Clearwater is pleased to present the 2023 Spirit of the Hudson Award to Ronald Zorrilla, founder and CEO of Outdoor Promise, for his commitment to connecting people to nature in order to inspire lifelong stewardship of the natural world. Outdoor Promise's mission to increase access to outdoor recreation for Newburgh's youth is rooted in the certainty that "we cannot ask people to protect a nature they have not experienced," and embodies the Clearwater principle that the key to a healthy planet is an educated, empowered, and inspired community.
In addition to his work with Outdoor Promise, Mr. Zorrilla serves on the Board of Directors of the Downing Park Planning Committee, is a member of the City of Newburgh Conservation Advisory Council, and represents City of Newburgh Residents on the Stewart Air National Guard Restoration Advisory Committee. He is also a volunteer instructor for the AMC Youth Opportunities Program, where he continues to grow environmental literacy amongst youth workers and teachers seeking to improve their outdoor program planning and facilitation skills.
Mr. Zorrilla lives in Newburgh with his wife Ashley, where they spend time adventuring in the great outdoors. His consulting company - Converging Strategies LLC - helps clients realize their development goals. He also continues to support the GCSEN Foundation - where he was previously the Director of Operations - through consulting while they continue their mission of teaching college students and adults how to turn their passions into viable social enterprises.
Lifetime Contribution to Clearwater Award
Captain Betsy Garthwaite has had many roles at Clearwater, from volunteer to Captain to Board President and unofficial historian. Betsy joined Clearwater as a twenty-something weekly on board volunteer with no prior sailing experience. The following year, she served as a month-long apprentice, and went on to spend subsequent seasons on board the sloop in a variety of positions, including Chief Mate under Captain Beth Doxsee. Betsy was named Captain in 1992, serving in that capacity until 1995. She joined Clearwater's Board of Directors in 2016; that same year, she coordinated the honoring of every living Clearwater Captain for the Spirit of the Hudson Gala. She served as Board President until 2018.
Today, Besty is considered Clearwater's unofficial historian, researching the organization's origins and early years, interviewing those who had important roles in getting the sloop built and crystalizing its mission, and collecting documents and photographs that record those times. She has a natural ability to encourage and maintain relationships of Clearwater alumni near and far, including helping to bring six female Captains together for the She Sailor Sea Stories virtual storytelling series in 2021. Betsy's warmth and deep well of knowledge have helped guide Clearwater through more than one transitional phase.
Musician - Mission Song
Linda Richards has entertained people of the Hudson Valley from school auditoriums to the decks of the sloop Clearwater for over thirty years. A public school classroom teacher for a decade, strolling minstrel, inservice course teacher, Clearwater's Education and Music Director, Manitou School music and natural science teacher, [email protected] Camp summer camp director, guitar instructor and puzzle maker, Linda is multi-talented and multi-directional. Her Power of Song program for youth musicians grew and delivered message music to thousands of people from 2009 - 2015. She performs regularly at the Great Hudson River Revival and Mohonk Mountain House and is a member of the Vanaver Caravan's "Turn Turn Turn!" project, sharing Pete Seeger's visions through song and dance.Linda has taught and performed in a vast array of venues, reaching her audience through her wonderful vocal skills, sense of humor and knowledge of our natural world. She has a Master's in education and thirty years of teaching experience - making her a one-of-a-kind teaching/entertaining package.
Pianist Dan Englehardt describes himself as a Brooklyn boy who came to this planet knowing how to play the piano. Inspired by classical composers like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Hayden, Mendelsohn, and Chopin, Dan studied music and piano through high school. As he deepened his study, he attributes his broadening horizons to the music of Ray Charles and Dave Brubeck. Dan minored in music in college, and went on to music school on a full-tuition scholarship. He spent the next few years touring up and down the East Coast playing with rock 'n roll bands, wedding bands, and more, playing bass guitar as much as keyboards. Following a wonderful five years as an educator, playing piano for the school chorus and class productions, Dan began composing his own tunes. Believing that his success is attributed to the fact that music comes from the heart, Dan hopes to move audiences worldwide.
Capt. Samantha Heyman Hicks
Master of Ceremonies
If you know Sam Hicks, you know that Clearwater changed her life and helped her embark on a career she never imagined growing up in the Boston suburbs. Samantha, AKA Captain Sam, started working on the sloop as an apprentice in 1994 at the very beginning of what would become a 17- year career in sail education. She worked her way up through the ranks on numerous vessels including the Schooner Ernestina out of New Bedford, sailing as chief mate for the maiden voyage of the brigantine Irving Johnson, and sailing to both Europe and Asia aboard the Pride of Baltimore II. After sailing as captain of the Clearwater from 2000 to 2005, she signed on as chief mate for the Barque Picton Castle's fourth World Voyage, circumnavigating the globe. Captain Sam has been a critical part of Clearwater's resurgence post-pandemic, as a leader of the Strategic Planning process, including surveying and reporting, filled gaps in development when Clearwater was without an Education Director, and serves as co-chair of the vessel subcommittee of the Properties Committee on the board. Today, Captain Sam serves as the Vice-President of the Board of Directors for Clearwater.