Water: Beneath the Surface and Around the Globe
Friday, February 23 – 1- 5pm

The seminar and Saturday’s award ceremony are live-streamed on BerkeleySpringsWV Facebook page.

Times Approximate

1pm  Arthur von Wiesenberger, Watermaster
Opening remarks

1:10 Rona Kobell, Co-Founder, Environmental Justice Journalism Initiative, Producer, Eroding History

1:55  Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper

2:15 Lawrence E. Armstrong, Ph.D., FACSM  Professor Emeritus University of Connecticut

2:40 Janet Abbott, Co-founder & Vice-President of BANA,  Balneology Association of North America

3:00 Break

3:15 Joe Doss, President, and CEO, International Bottled Water Association

3:35 Marc Edwards, University Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech

4pm  Henry R. Hidell, III, Founder Hidell International  Group Discussion

8pm  H2O: The Intelligence of Water ~ World Premiere!  At the Historic Star Theatre

This event is free and open to the public. Please, be our guest for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Arthur von Wiesenberger
Moderator and Water Master
Noted water expert and consultant.

Well known for Nipper’s, his highly successful champagne and caviar club in California, von Wiesenberger added water tastings to his wine-tasting business in the late 1970s. He is a past president of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association, the American Institute of Wine and Food, and the Society of Wine Educators.  His books include Champagne & Caviar, A Pocket Guide to Bottled Water, and The Taste of Water.  The original Water Master of the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, von Wiesenberger has served in all but three festivals through the 33 years. Since 2018 he has been the Executive Producer and host of the award-winning animal rescue television series, AnimalZone. It is on Cox television network and TUBI.Tv. See why Arthur von Wiesenberger was chosen for the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.


2024 Lifetime Achievement Award
Marc Edwards
University Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech

TOPIC: Enemy of the People
Telling the truth about water in an age of tribalism isn’t easy: Ibsen’s classic is just as relevant today as it was 140 years ago.

Marc Edwards is a University Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech, where he teaches courses in environmental engineering, applied aquatic chemistry and engineering ethics. His research group conducted the investigative science uncovering the 2001-2004 D.C. Lead Crisis and the 2014-2016 Flint Water Disaster. Time Magazine dubbed Edwards “The Plumbing Professor” in 2004, listing him amongst the 4 most important “Innovators” in water from around the world.  The White House awarded him a Presidential Faculty Fellowship in 1996, he won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2007, and in 2013 Edwards’ received the IEEE Barus Award for “courageously defending the public interest at great personal risk.” In 2016 he was named amongst TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people in the World, the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine, Politico Magazine’s Top 50 Visionaries who have transformed American politics, Foreign Policy Magazines 100 World’s Greatest Thinkers, and was short-listed amongst Flint whistleblowers as Time person(s) of the year. He was co-recipient of the inaugural 2017 MIT Disobedience Award, received the 2018 AAAS Scientific Freedom and Responsibility award, and the Hoover Humanitarian Medal in 2019.

Tesanjski kiseljak and company Zema d.o.o. from Tesanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina is the presenting sponsor of the Lifetime Achievement Award

Topic: The Water Will Come: Building Equity into Resilience
Philosophers and scientists have talked about the moral imperatives of the climate crisis. Marginalized groups of people are going to feel the impacts of rising seas, saltwater intrusion, and sinking land more than those we can afford to move, shore up property, or otherwise protect themselves. As a nation, we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but we needn’t throw up our hands as that happens. Many policy solutions to lower-income communities’ troubles on Maryland’s Eastern Shore are close at hand. We can clean out ditches that make flooding much more common in certain areas; purchase smaller parcels of land to preserve, and offer more flexibility in property tax sales so that families can keep their land and protect it. Water will come, so why don’t we do what we can to direct it where it will be least harmful? These solutions require funds and climate legislation offers many opportunities to acquire such monies. This presentation will focus on how we might build equity into resilience. 
Film: Eroding History
A climate justice story at the intersection of sea level rise, historic racism and the disappearance of black communities.

Rona Kobell is the co-founder of the Environmental Justice Journalism Initiative. She has covered the Chesapeake Bay and its people for 19 years, beginning at The Baltimore Sun, then at the Chesapeake Bay Journal, and most recently as the managing editor for Chesapeake Quarterly magazine. She is an adjunct professor at Loyola University, Towson University, and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, where she recently earned her Masters of the Arts in Journalism. For five years, she co-hosted and co-produced a Chesapeake Bay show on WYPR. Her writing has appeared in Slate, Grist, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, National Parks Magazine, and many other publications. Her work has won two APEX Awards for communication excellence; one MARCOM Platinum Award for research-paper writing; the Lowell Thomas Award, Bronze, for national environmental travel reporting; the Rachel Carson Award for Women Greening Journalism from the National Audubon Society; and several honors from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association. Baltimore magazine named her Best Bay Watcher in 2015, and named Eroding History Best Environmental Reporting in 2023. She has written and produced three films, including Eroding History. Rona was named a 2023-2024 SNF AGORA Fellow at Johns Hopkins University for the 2023-2024 academic year, where she will continue to work on the topics explored in Eroding History.

Topic: Is PFAS in Your Water? 
Discussion of PFAS, what it is and why it is a pollutant of significant concern. Learn where PFAS is in our environment and how you are most likely exposed, and understand your role in protecting our environment and your family.
Brent Walls became the Upper Potomac Riverkeeper shortly after joining Potomac Riverkeeper, Inc. in 2009. He is responsible for defending the public trust of the rivers and streams in the Upper Potomac by advocating for clean water and ensuring the virtues of the Clean Water Act are enforced. Brent has been an advocate for clean water for over a decade. With an Environmental Science background in freshwater ecology, he has brought a valuable scientific perspective to Potomac Riverkeeper. His experience in water quality sampling has ensured defensible enforcement actions and has been a unique advising asset with local watershed groups. Brent’s love of maps and proficiency with Geographical Information Systems has inspired the development of Water Trail maps in the Upper Potomac and has provided PRK with valuable interactive web maps and the creation of a mobile application to report water pollution.


Topic: Simple “Self-Checks” You Can Take Each Day to Support Healthy Hydration Why is personal hydration important? How does adequate daily water intake fit into an overall plan for optimal health? How do you know if you are well hydrated, and how do you maintain this status throughout the year?  What is known about individuals who drink very little each day  (low drinkers)? Armstrong answers these questions, as well as discussing the water intake spectrum: from underhydration to overhydration, and daily water intake in various countries around the world.

Lawrence Armstrong holds the rank of Professor Emeritus, the University of Connecticut, USA where he served for 28 years in the Human Performance Laboratory and held joint appointments in the Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Physiology/Neurobiology. His research interests include human daily water requirements, the sensation of thirst, individuals who habitually consume water in low volumes, the effects of dehydration on performance, and water-electrolyte balance during exercise in hot environments; these studies resulted in over 250 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He formerly was a Physiologist at the Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA (1983-1990) and served on committees of the National Academy of Medicine in Washington, D.C. Dr. Armstrong is now a member of the Drinking Water Research Foundation Board of Trustees (Alexandria VA). He has been a member of the American College of Sports Medicine since 1980 and served as its International President in 2015-2016. Recently, he was recognized as a member of the “Stanford University 2023 Top 2% of Scientists” ranking.

Topic: Balneology: A cultural retrospective of mineral waters Balneology is the study and practices of the arts and sciences of natural mineral waters for well-being, including drinking, soaking, steaming and muds. Internationally recognized, balneology has been embedded in cultural practices historically and the current attention for mineral waters for well-being is at a most compelling need for revival since the pandemic. Mineral waters are a valuable source of hydration for humankind. Indeed there is nothing better than a delicious drink of water.

Janet Abbott has been introducing the intrinsic worth of mineral waters since 2000 with not-for-profit associations beginning with Texas. Expanding into the Americas, the Balneology Association of North America (BANA) was co-founded in 2011. She has been leading balneology research, information and education as President from 2015-2023. In December 2023, she stepped into a Vice-Presidential role to support her Directorship of Mineral Water Language guiding initiatives for clarity in the way we speak about mineral waters for cultural wellbeing. Since the geology of the land she grew up on provided delicious sweet spring waters for drinking and waterfalls of many springs for early development, it was a bespoke direction to lead the study of natural mineral waters practiced historically and culturally into a revival for North America.




TOPIC: Key Bottled Water and Tap Water Issues   Joe Doss will speak about several bottled water and tap water issues that have received increased attention from the media and government officials. This will include a discussion of microplastics, water use, and efforts by bottled water companies to reduce their environmental footprint.

Joe Doss, President, and CEO of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) since 1999, has extensive experience in association management and food and drug, government affairs, public relations, and legal issues. His previous positions include: Senior Vice President and Director of Public Affairs, Consumer Healthcare Products Association; Government Affairs Representative, National Stone Association; and Legislative Analyst, LEGI-SLATE of Congress. He serves on the Board of Directors at the International Council of Bottled Water Associations and is a member of the Food and Drug Law Institute and the American Bar Association. He was the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Lifetime Achievement Award Winner in 2019.

TOPIC: Group Discussion

Henry “Bob” Hidell is the Founder, Chairman & Managing Director of Hidell International providing consulting services to the beverage, drinking water, food and nutrition industries since 1972. His professional expertise spans the spectrum of business, technical, and educational services with specific expertise in the formulation of business strategies, mergers and acquisitions, and turnkey development of beverage bottling facilities. He is a recognized expert in international economic and business development and is the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient.