Francis Golet
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, Rhode Island

In his long and distinguished career in research, teaching, and advocacy, Dr. Golet has inspired generations of college students, helped define the framework of wetland protection and management at all levels of government, and effectively shaped the science of wetland ecology.

Dr. Golet was among the first researchers to focus on classification and assessment of wetland functions and values, providing definitional bases for modern wetland law. Shortly after publishing the Classification of Freshwater Wetlands in the Glaciated Northeast in 1974, he co-authored the Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States. The classification system articulated in this work has been applied nationwide and has contributed immeasurably to wetland management and protection in the United States. His 1993 monograph, Ecology of Red Maple Swamps in the Glaciated Northeast, is the definitive work on that wetland type and includes the results of 25 years of his own field research.

Dr. Golet has taught courses in wetland ecology and management at the University of Rhode Island for more than 30 years, encouraging hundreds of students to understand and appreciate wetland systems. Nearly 150 of his students have gone on to professional careers in wetland science. Dr. Golet takes an exceptional interest in each of his students, inspiring them as few professors can.

Dr. Golet has advised state, federal, and local governments on a wide variety of wetland topics and issues, testified before the U.S. Senate regarding proposed changes to the federal definition of a “wetland,” and assisted in the preparation of technical briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. In recent years, Dr. Golet has led several major wetland restoration efforts in Rhode Island and has investigated the ecology of vernal pools.

— Thomas Ardito, Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, Narragansett, Rhode Island