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Princeville volunteer weather observer gets first Holm award for Kaua‘i

PRINCEVILLE — Recently, Amy Fritz, the national COOP (Cooperative Observer Program) manager for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service out of Silver Springs, Maryland, took time out of her family’s vacation to present the prestigious John Campanius Holm Award to Princeville resident Damian Baptiste.

The award is prestigious because nominations for the selection are based on volunteers for the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program, or NWS COOP, and nominees must’ve volunteered for at least 20 years to be eligible for nomination.

Once nominated, only 25 out of more than 1,000 possible nominees across the nation are selected for the anual award.

“Mr. Baptiste has been a COOP observer for 37 years in the Pacific Region located on Kaua‘i,” said Scot Ferguson of the NWS Data Collection Office Lihu‘e.

“He diligently takes daily precipitation observations from the 8-inch SRG and inputs them into the Weather Coder program. He also downloads monthly Fischer porter data and sends it to the Lihu‘e Data Collection Office for submission to National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI.”

Ferguson, mentioning that this is the first time someone on Kaua‘i has received the John Campanius Holm Award, said Baptiste helps him with the Fischer porter maintenance and reports any issues he may find.

“He is an outstanding community supporter, participating in monthly beach cleanup efforts and highway beautification programs,” Ferguson said. “He also helps maintain facilities for the youth baseball program by volunteering to build a new backstop and dugouts.”

His volunteerism in providing data is in support of his community, the state and the NWS COOP, said Ferguson.

The award, created in 1959, provides the NWS with a way to honor cooperative weather observers for outstanding accomplishments in the field of meteorological observations.

The namesake for this award is a Lutheran minister, John Campanius Holm, the first known person to have taken systematic weather observations in the American colonies. Holm made observations of climate without the use of instruments in 1644 and 1645, near the present site of Wilmington, Delaware. In later years, his son had his records published.

The NWS is currently looking for volunteers to participate in the COOP program across Kaua‘i.

“Anyone interested should know that we are looking for long-term families, institutions or businesses that have good and safe locations for the NWS equipment,” Ferguson said.

For more information on becoming a COOP volunteer, visit www.weather.gov/coop/overview, or call 808-245-2420.
Source: The Garden Island

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