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Senior Volunteer Profile

Newton and Lois Carleton demonstrate their Groundwater Flow Simulator to trainees in New Mexico.


When Newton and Lois Carleton of Amarillo, Texas retired, their newfound leisure simply gave them more time for something they had been doing for years — volunteering their time and expertise for their community.

They have been named Volunteers of the Year for 2001 by the Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement (EASI) for their work with EASI’s regional water source protection program.  Newt and Lois also were among the first EASI Ambassadors to the burgeoning number of new Senior Environment Corps around the country. The couple began volunteering when their children were small, at school and with youth groups such as they  Cub Scouts and Blue Birds.  As the children grew, the parents spread their time and talents into adult community programs. 

Lois and Newt both continue to work at a vetern’s hospital and the Amarillo Retired Senior Volunteer Program, but spend the bulk of their volunteer hours now with Texas GOLD, (Guard Our Local Drinking Water) and EASI. The couple joined EASI when they answered a call from the Amarillo RSVP recruiting volunteers for Texas GOLD. 

 “We were interested because Lois had worked in the Hydrology Department of the Bureau of Reclamation,” Newt said.  “She worked on several projects, including Lake Meredith, that now supplies water for eleven communities and a half-million people.  And I had a background in field sanitation as a Medical Platoon Sergeant with the Texas National Guard, and in wellhead inspection at the Pantex Plant.”

In the Texas Gold project, the Carletons helped pinpoint sources of pollution around wells that provide drinking water to the cities of Amarillo and Canyon.  As part of the ground water protection program, they began giving programs for schoolchildren in their region, using a Groundwater Flow Simulator to demonstrate how contaminants can spread into groundwater.  

They have helped organize similar groundwater protection programs in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 6, covering Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana.  The group is now planning a Unified Source Protection Project, funded by the EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water and a network of Environmental Finance Centers based at nine universities in Region 6. Lake Meredith will be one of the first projects.

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