Congratulations to the recipients of the 2016 National Wetlands Awards!
Conservation & Restoration
Education & Outreach
Dr. Pamela B. Blanchard
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dr. K. Ramesh Reddy
State, Tribal, and Local Program Development
Wetlands Community Leader
Yauco, Puerto Rico
Peter David is a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. For 30 years, he has fostered partnerships between federal, state, county, and tribal agencies, NGOs, and concerned citizens to encourage wetland stewardship, research, and restoration, with a primary emphasis on wild rice (manoomin), a plant with significant ecological and cultural importance in the upper Midwest. He is considered by many to be one of the country’s foremost experts in rice ecology and conservation. He was intricately involved in establishing the Circle of Flight Program, which became the primary funding source for regional tribal wetland conservation efforts. He was a technical advisor for the Wild Rice Monitoring Handbook and Field Guide and was the lead author of a report identifying and describing over 300 northern Wisconsin manoomin waters. He coordinates a cooperative interagency restoration program that has increased rice abundance in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan by 25%.
Dr. Pamela B. Blanchard is an associate professor at Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Education. She co-founded the LSU Coastal Roots Seedling Nursery (CR) program in 2000 to educate students and teachers on coastal issues and sustainability and to engage students in restoration projects. She is a passionate educator who empowers students from second grade through high school to become environmental stewards. Each year, students learn to manage a nursery installed at their school, grow native plants, and participate on restoration trips to a beach or forest. The CR program has grown to include 48 schools across 18 parishes in Louisiana. There are also four schools in Chile participating in the CR program. Approximately 16,000 students have participated in the program, planting nearly 130,000 native plants on more than 300 restoration trips since 2000.
Tom Bernthal has been the wetland monitoring and assessment coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources since 2003, but his dedication to wetlands conservation has been unwavering throughout his career. Through collaboration and innovation, he has been a prominent figure in wetlands research, restoration, and education in Wisconsin. His ability to coordinate efforts and advance innovative wetland monitoring and assessment methods have resulted in numerous valuable resources for the state and region. He was instrumental in the development of the statewide Floristic Quality Assessment and in drafting Reversing the Loss: A Strategy for Protecting and Restoring Wetlands in Wisconsin. He has additionally volunteered for more than two decades as an advisor and board member for several nonprofit organizations, including the Wisconsin Wetlands Association and the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy.
Dr. K. Ramesh Reddy is a graduate professor and department chair in the Soil and Water Science Department at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science (IFAS). For over 40 years, he has led ground-breaking research on the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients in natural and managed wetland and aquatic ecosystems, particularly in the Florida Everglades. He is a renowned biogeochemist, mentor, and leader in wetland science. He promoted an integrated approach to wetland science that included biogeochemistry in research and education, he co-authored a textbook entitled Biogeochemistry of Wetlands: Science and Applications, and has produced more than 350 peer-reviewed papers. He served on the National Research Council Committee of the National Academy of Sciences for an independent review of the Everglades Restoration Plan and currently serves on the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board’s Ecological Processes and Effects Committee.
Roberto Viqueira is the founder of the nonprofit Protectores de Cuencas (Watershed Protectors), a science and community-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting wetland conservation and restoration throughout Puerto Rico. After serving as the coordinator for the Guánica Bay Watershed, which was designated the first U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Watershed Partnership Initiative site in 2009, he has expanded his work to wetland sites across Puerto Rico. Through partnerships and leveraging over $7 million in funding from numerous federal and local agencies, he has reduced pollution to the Guánica Bay by preserving Guánica Lagoon, creating sewage treatment wetlands, and launching the “Think Before You Drop It” campaign with NOAA to reduce marine debris. He also promotes sustainable agricultural practices such as shade-grown coffee through the development of a certification program and has helped develop a regionally adapted hydroseed for shoreline stabilization, beach restoration, and habitat rehabilitation.
To find out about past NWA Winners, click here.