Save the date! The 15th Annual Hiwassee Watershed Gala will take place at Young Harris College on Thursday, March 30, 2023. Join us for an evening of laughter, fun, and camaraderie… and to honor the winner of this year’s Holman Water Quality Stewardship Award!

The auction associated with our Watershed Gala event features original art and craft items from right here in the Southern Blue Ridge, as well as services and guided outdoor recreation opportunities.

This year’s Gala Auction begins on Monday, March 20, at 12 p.m. (noon) and ends at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Watershed Gala — Thursday, March 30. Physical items will be on display at the event, but all bidding will take place online through the 32auctions website.

2023 Gala Menu

Passed Hors d’oeuvres

Mini Shrimp Shooters with Remoulade or Cocktail Sauce




Arugula, Blue Cheese, Grape Tomatoes with a Cucumber Wrap and a Roasted Spice Peach Vinaigrette


Choice of Entree

Stuffed Pork Loin:

Stuffed with Cornbread and Andouille Sausage with a Cajun Cream Sauce (mildly spicy)



Pecan Encrusted Chicken Breast with a Peach Compote



Roasted Eggplant Napoleon:

Layered with Roasted Red Peppers, Portobello Mushrooms, Tofu and Herbs topped with a Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

(Vegetarian and Vegan)



Served with

Roasted Potatoes

Roasted Broccolini

Rolls with Butter




Chocolate Decadence Cake

The Holman Water Quality Stewardship Award

North Carolina water quality giant is namesake for the annual award.


Bill Holman was born and raised in North Carolina, graduating magna cum laude from NC State University in 1978 with a degree in Biology. He worked as executive director of the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund from 2001 to 2006. The NC General Assembly established the CWMTF in 1996 to help finance acquisition and restoration of buffers and wetlands, wastewater improvements, stormwater controls, greenways, and other water quality investments.

Holman served as Governor Jim Hunt’s Secretary of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources from 1999–2000 and as an Assistant Secretary from 1998–1999. Prior to service in these capacities, Holman is credited with helping to pass the Clean Water Responsibility Act of 1997, the Brownfields Cleanup Act of 1997, the Clean Water Management Trust Fund Act of 1996, the Watershed Protection Act of 1989, and numerous other environmental bills as a lobbyist for state and national environmental and conservation groups.

Legislators, lobbyists and news reporters ranked him as one of the top 10 most-effective lobbyists in the NC General Assembly from 1985-1997. Before beginning his career, he hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1975. Holman directed Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions state policy program from 2007-2012.

Currently, he is the North Carolina State Director of The Conservation Fund. His current projects include supporting North Carolina’s conservation trust funds in the state legislature, protecting Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway, establishing Headwaters State Forest in Transylvania County, and working with utility companies to increase protection of water supplies. Holman has received several awards throughout his career. Most recently, the Water Environment Federation presented its Outstanding Contributions to the Water Environment for Non-Members Award to Holman in 2014. In 2000, Governor Hunt awarded him one of the state’s highest civilian honors, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Other awards include 1999 Conservationist of the Year by the NC Wildlife Federation.

Bill lives in Raleigh, NC with his wife, Stephanie Bass, a writer and consultant.

Past Holman Award Winners

2022 – Jason Chambers
2021 – David Liden
2020 – Brenda “BK” Hull
2019 – Dave Hering
2018 – Gilbert Nicolson
2017 – Barbara Mathis

2017 – Bill Kendall
2016 – Nancy Troxler
2015 – Tom Bennett
2014 – David Wood
2013 – Nathan Hughes

2013 – Bonner Leaders
2012 – Lucy Cole Gratton
2011 – Silas Allen
2010 – Lamar Paris
2009 – Jim Dobson

About the Holman Award Trophy

David Goldhagen of Hayesville, NC, was commissioned to create the Holman Water Quality Stewardship Award. Goldhagen’s unique painterly approach to art glass marries bold colors to brilliant, clear crystal in a clean, modern style.

Of the piece Goldhagen created for this occasion, former HRWC member and volunteer, the late Tom Bennett wrote: “The torso shape suggests the strength of the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition and the power of water. The glass represents the fragile ecosystem of streams and rivers – the color of the living things in it that must be protected.”

Goldhagen’s work may be found in the permanent collections of numerous corporations, museums and foundations. More at