Oct. 4 2021 07:08 AM

The awards include artist and conservationist of the year, as well as others.

Aquascape, St. Charles, Illinois, presented several annual awards honoring its Certified Aquascape Contractors and distributors after another successful Pondemonium Online event with 1,175 attendees. Hundreds of contractors were considered for coveted awards like the Aquascape Artist of the Year and Conservationist of the Year.

The Aquascape Artist of the Year is chosen by Brian Helfrich, vice president of construction and previous winners of the award. An Artist of the Year distinguishes themself with a unique style and are at the forefront of the industry today for decorative water feature installation and design. Dan Peterson and Diego Asturias of Fontana Ponds & Water Features in Mission, British Columbia, are this year’s recipients.

“One of the standards we look for in an Artist of the Year is diversity,” says Helfrich. “We want to see variety in their water feature installs to determine that they are always hitting high marks no matter what the project calls for. Everything Dan and Diego touched this year was consistently beautiful. When I view their work, I leave feeling inspired, which is what this award is all about.”

Ed Beaulieu, vice president of field research and contractor development, awards the Aquascape Conservationist of the Year to a contractor who continually exemplifies passion for the environment through creating sustainable water features. Patrick Handley of Waterscapes Australia in Queensland, AU is this year’s recipient. Handley has executed many specialty projects with an emphasis on ecology and ecosystems for native fish.

Greg Wittstock, founder and CEO of Aquascape, Inc., presents the award for Digital Influencer of the Year to a Certified Aquascape Contractor who excels with content creation on YouTube and other social media platforms. Jaak Harju of Atlantis Water Gardens in Morris Plains, New Jersey, takes home the award this year for maintaining a consistent output that inspires others to add water features to their outdoor living space.

Other Pondemonium 2021 award winners included: Jeff and Melanie Norman of Great Lakes Pondscapes in Paw Paw, Michigan, for Distributor of the Year; Chris Thompson of Just Add Water in Ankeny, Iowa, for Businessman of the Year; and Cliff Raitz of Terrascapes in Costa Mesa, California, for Certified Aquascape Contractor of the Year.