Two female freshwater champions are honored

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Awards bestowed at Stroud Water Research Center’s annual gala

Stroud Water Research Center Board Chairman Rod Moorhead (left) and Director Bern Sweeney pose with one of the winners of the 2013 the Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence,  Jane Lubchenco. Photo by Yeda Arscott

Stroud Water Research Center Board Chairman Rod Moorhead (left) and Director Bern Sweeney pose with one of the winners of the 2013 the Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence, Jane Lubchenco. Photo by Yeda Arscott

AVONDALE – Two champions of freshwater were recognized Tuesday night at the “Water’s Edge,” the Stroud Water Center’s annual gala at Longwood Gardens.

Jane Lubchenco, former under secretary of commerce for the National Oceans and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), and Kathryn Sullivan, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and an NOAA administrator, were recipients of the 2013 Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence.

This award, also known as the SAFE Water Award, rewards outstanding achievement by those who contribute broadly to the conservation and protection of fresh water. A crystal vase designed by Simon Pearce accompanies the award. Past recipients have included John Briscoe in 2012, and Olivia Newton-John and John Easterling in 2011, a Stroud news release said

Center Director Bern Sweeney and Board Chairman Rod Moorhead presented the award to Lubchenco, who also accepted on behalf of Sullivan. The federal government shutdown prevented Sullivan from attending, the release said.

Upon accepting the award, Lubchenco said, “Science is critical, but it’s not sufficient. Clear communication of scientific results is really important and so too are relationships, funders, diplomacy, and changing incentives. With the right combination of people and events, we can achieve sustainable solutions. I think, collectively, until we solve the problems that are going on in D.C., much of the action is going to be at the local and state levels.”

Lubchenco was the first woman to be appointed under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. She served in this role from 2009 to 2013. During her tenure, NOAA’s accomplishments included restoring fisheries to sustainability and profitability, restoring oceans and coasts to a healthy state, ensuring continuity of the nation’s weather and other environmental satellites, and developing a Weather-Ready Nation, the release said.

Sullivan was one of the first six women selected to join the NASA astronaut corps in 1978, becoming the first American woman to walk in space. She flew on three shuttle missions, including the mission that deployed the Hubble telescope. Sullivan has also served on the National Science Board and as an oceanographer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.  In 1993, she was appointed NOAA’s chief scientist, overseeing a research and technology portfolio that included fisheries biology, climate change, and marine biodiversity.

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