Scott Jackson, Extension associate professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation, has been named the 2013 Conservationist of the Year by The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts to recognize his efforts in conserving the Bay State’s lands and waters.
The award was presented Dec. 12 at the organization’s Boston office.
“Scott Jackson has been a tireless advocate for science-based conservation for more than 20 years,” said Wayne Klockner, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts. “Honoring him as our 2013 Conservationist of the Year provides just a small portion of the recognition he deserves for his countless contributions to the health of Massachusetts’ natural environment.”
“I am honored to be recognized by The Nature Conservancy, an organization that has done much to integrate science and conservation action in Massachusetts and throughout the region,” Jackson said. “I am deeply indebted to the many individuals and organizations with which I have been able to collaborate and without which my work would never have been possible.”
According to The Nature Conservancy, Jackson’s contributions to conservation in Massachusetts include co-founding the River and Stream Continuity Project, which developed standards for culverts and bridges to help minimize their impact on wildlife and river health and created approaches for prioritizing replacement of these road-stream crossings. These methods are being used across New England and the northeast to protect and restore river continuity.
He also led the use of underpass systems to facilitate wildlife movement across roads and in development of methods for evaluating the effectiveness of animal-passage structures, beginning with construction and evaluation of the Henry Street tunnels in Amherst in 1987, the first such structures in North America. This early experiment helped establish the foundation for widespread adoption of wildlife crossing structures in the U.S. and Canada.
Jackson also co-led the statewide Critical Linkages connectivity assessment completed this year by the UMass Amherst landscape ecology program. Critical Linkages identifies the dams, road-stream crossings and road segments most important for conservation and transportation agencies to address in order to minimize the impact of these structures on wildlife movement and viability, while maintaining a safe and reliable transportation infrastructure.
The Conservationist of the Year award was created in 2005 to recognize the efforts of conservation leaders in protecting the state’s lands and waters. The Nature Conservancy staff and trustees periodically select an individual to honor who has made a significant impact on conservation in Massachusetts.
Previous winners include Gov. Deval Patrick, Mary Griffin, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Ian Bowles, secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and Congressman John Olver.