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U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Contact: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Phone: 337-266-8655
Fax: 337-266-8541
For Release: August 22, 2008



USGS National Wetlands Research Center Staff Receive Awards

The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wetlands Research Center recently recognized several staff members for awards they have received from both the USGS and outside organizations during the past federal fiscal year.  Presenting awards were Gregory Smith, center director; Dave Applegate, acting USGS Central Regional Director, from Denver; and Stanley Ponce, USGS South Central Area Executive, Columbia, Mo.

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Science Awards

Former staff member Virginia Burkett was recognized for her contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose members shared in the Nobel Peace Prize. She also received the Southeastern Regional Director’s Conservation Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for her work on climate change and for helping natural resource managers understand and anticipate potential impacts in the southeastern United States.

Karen McKee was selected as a 2008 Society of Wetland Scientists Honor Fellow for her 30-year contributions to wetland science. This is the highest recognition of membership bestowed up on the society. Only a third of one percent of members receive this recognition.

Wylie Barrow was co-author of the publication “Vanishing Before Our Eyes: Louisiana Cheniere Woods and the Birds that Depend on Them,” which received an award of excellence from the Houston chapter of the Society for Technical Communication and an international award of distinction from the Society.

Craig Conzelmann received a Wings Across the Americas Award from the U.S. Forest Service for his creation of a computer application for the lower Mississippi Valley and Central Hardwoods Joint Ventures.  The program allows scientists who develop computer models of habitat for 40 priority bird species to run model replicates in two days rather than 60.

Scott Wilson was recognized by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for his work as project leader of Team Cajunbot in the 2004, 2005, and 2007 Grand Challenges of robotic cars,  sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the U.S. Defense Department.

Carroll Cordes, recently retired USGS branch chief, received the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture’s Conservation Service Award for his contributions and service as a member of the Joint Venture’s Management Board.

Larry Allain received the center’s “Leading from Any Chair Award” for his leadership in the Louisiana Native Plant Initiative, a multi-state and federal agency partnership to expand the quality and diversity of native seed stock for coastal wetland and prairie restoration. Allain also donates a great deal of time teaching about wetlands to Boy Scout in the Eagle Scout Program and graduate students in education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Other Awards

Leslie Holland received the 2007 Reserve Affairs Family Readiness Award from the Department of Defense for Military Support for her volunteer work as a family-support coordinator for the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve’s Port Security Unit 308. Only one such award per year is given to each of the service branches.

Gaye Farris received a USGS Shoemaker award for her speech, “Communicating During a Disaster: the Professional and Personal,” in September in Denver. The speech also received a first place award from the National Association of Government Communicators, which has named its annual communications scholarship for Farris, a former NAGC president. Farris was named a Gulf Guardian by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program for service in communicating about the Gulf of Mexico.

Debbie Norling was awarded in Denver the 2008 USGS Central Region Diversity Award in recognition of her 15 years of service to diversity. She has been involved in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Women’s Program, the USGS Central Region Special Emphasis Program Advisory Committee, and the USGS Central Region Diversity Council. She has organized diversity training and several programs for Black History Month and Women’s History Month featuring speakers which included local dignitaries, authors, Ambassador Lindy Boggs, and Senator Mary Landrieu. She chaired the center’s 2008 community-wide celebration of “Women’s Art: Women’s Vision of the Natural World,” and has served on numerous USGS committees championing diversity in the workplace.

Christina Boudreaux received a first-place award from the National Association of Government Communicators for her design of conference materials for the USGS International Delta Roundtable meeting held in Lafayette, La. She also received the center’s Exemplary Service Award for her outstanding work as a graphics artist.

Geographer Larry Handley was recognized for his 30 years of federal government service.

Former USGS contractor Susan Horton has been named a 2008 Woman of Excellence for Public Service by the Lafayette Commission on the Needs of Women, for her tireless service and zeal for wetland education. Horton was an education and outreach coordinator at the center for 12 years before she left to study theology at a seminary in Austin, Tex., in July.

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Employees of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center recently recognized for their awards from USGS and from outside groups are, from left, Scott Wilson, Karen McKee, Larry Handley, Leslie Holland, Gaye Farris, Christina Boudreaux, Craig Conzelmann, and Wylie Barrow.

  Ecologist Larry Allain receives the “Leading from Any Chair” award from Dave Applegate, acting USGS Central Regional Director, for his leadership in the Louisiana Native Plant Initiative, a multi-State and Federal partnership for coastal wetland and prairie restoration.
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USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Gregory Smith shakes hands with Larry Handley, in recognition for his 30 years of service to the Department of the Interior.

  Stanley Ponce, USGS South Central Area Executive, addresses an all-hands meeting at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center.
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Presenting the USGS Central Region Diversity award to Debbie Norling, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, are David Applegate, Acting Regional Director, left, and Randy Updike, USGS Regional Executive for the Rocky Mountain area.

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