2018 Conservation Award Recipient

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Dr. Daniel Einstein received the 2018 Jack Davis Conservation Award for his work to protect, acquire, and restore great blue heron habitat in Olympia. He played a primary role in getting the Olympia City Council to pass significant amendments to the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) that allow nomination of locally important species for protection and adoption of habitat management guidelines.

His interest in conservation is long standing, fostered at an early age. As a child, he was turned on to nature in the woods and at the Audubon Society’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, MA. As a young adult, he was involved with his neighbors in the preservation of Katahdin Woods in Lexington MA. In 2000, he moved with his wife from Seattle to a farm in Olympia near Woodard Bay, where they enjoyed watching the great blue herons from the Woodard Bay colony. In 2006, they moved to their current residence in West Olympia, where their daughter was born. From their front porch, they have enjoyed watching the West Bay colony during their raucous breeding season, and have followed with increasing concern the progressive destruction of their nesting grounds. That concern grew into a commitment to OlyEcosystems mission to protect, preserve and restore the diverse ecosystems of Olympia that that include the freshwater, shoreline, tidal waters, and upland forests that are home to the Pacific Great Blue Heron, cutthroat trout, salmon and companion species.

Dr. Einstein is an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at Saint Martin’s University, with a restless curiosity about all things. He received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Washington. Prior to his appointment at Saint Martin’s, he worked in research with 15+ years’ experience participating in multiple interdisciplinary research teams in the national laboratory system, at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles and at the Cleveland Clinic. His research focuses on theoretical developments in nonlinear continuum mechanics and the development of numerical frameworks applied to computational biomechanics in the heart and lung. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed papers.

Jack Davis Conservationist of the Year Award

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Patrick Dunn, 2016 Jack Davis Conservationist of the Year

Patrick earned his bachelor’s in biology from The Colorado College and his master’s in ecology from California State University, Los Angeles. Pat has restored natural lands and conserved rare species in salt marshes of Southern California, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the tropical dryland and rainforests of Hawaii, and the prairies and oak woodlands of Cascadia. Pat’s expertise includes habitat restoration and management for rare species, including plants, rainforest birds and prairie butterflies, birds and mammals.

More than 20 years ago, Pat founded the South Puget Sound prairie conservation and restoration effort that originated with The Nature Conservancy and was transitioned to the Center for Natural Lands Management in 2011. Patrick provides direction, management and oversight for CNLM’s preserves and operations in Washington. Under his direction the South Puget Sound Program was designated the pilot for the Sentinel Landscapes Program, a federal initiative that brings together three federal agencies to assist conservation in a specific landscape, in this case the South Sound Prairies.

If you visit Prairie Appreciation Day in May at the Glacial Heritage Preserve you will now see about 600 acres of blue camas, yellow buttercups and a myriad of other flowers, a much different sight than the wall of Scotch broom prior to restoration. You can visit a patch of federally listed golden paintbrush that today contains more individuals than were present in the world ten years ago. Pat helped this plant on its way to one of the fastest trajectories ever to become a delisted species. Similarly, you might be lucky enough to see some Taylor’s checkerspots, a federally listed butterfly that was reintroduced.

Pat’s restoration efforts started with helping Joint Base Lewis-McChord on their prairies – improving the Army’s training lands for both the soldiers and conservation. That relationship with the Dept. of Defense remains today, and provides major funding of prairie conservation efforts in the South Sound, both on and off military lands. Pat also initiated much of the infrastructure needed to conduct restorations throughout the region. Fire is a historically important process on prairies, and Pat’s group now leads the greatest number of prescribed burns in the Northwest.

They work with the Evergreen State College Sustainability in Prisons Project, where inmates grow and plant a hundred thousand plant plugs each year, benefitting both conservation and the community of inmates. They also employ vets from the Veterans Conservation Corps providing the simple joy of working outdoors alongside a mission driven team dedicated to conservation.

Furthermore, Pat has completed a number of critical land acquisitions advancing efforts to protect the South Puget Sound Prairies. He assisted with the Black Hills Audubon and Friend’s project, the West Rocky Prairie Wildlife Area. Pat advised our attempt to save this area from development by Citifor and the Port of Tacoma. Through the negotiations, the initial owner sold the site to the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, creating a wildlife area that supports western spotted frogs, golden paintbrush and Mazama pocket gophers. We also procured a mitigation fund that continues to support conservation projects on the wildlife area.

Pat has cultivated partnerships with diverse groups, developing innovative conservation strategies to facilitate prairie conservation throughout the ecoregion, from British Columbia through the Willamette Valley. We thank Pat for his tremendous work. (By Elizabeth Roderick, graphic )

Jack Davis Conservationist of the Year Award

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Anne Mills, 2015 Jack Davis Conservationist of the Year 

PigeonGuillemotMatingAnne has a long history in conservation in our area as coordinator for South Sound GREEN (Global Rivers  Environmental Education Network). For ten years, she worked tirelessly in bringing watershed-based, hands-on science education to countless teachers and their students throughout the South Sound. She retired from this work in 2012, planning to spend part of her much-deserved retirement learning about a citizen-science project to monitor Pigeon Guillemot populations; after just one meeting with the Whidbey Island Pigeon Guillemot Research Group, Anne plunged in and began an ambitious collaborative citizen-science project in South Sound, focusing on the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve (NRAR) encompassing 14,826 acres of state-owned and DNR-managed tidelands and bedlands.READ MORE

Susan Markey, Helen Engle Volunteer of the Year for 2015.

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Susan Markey photo

A core member of Black Hills Audubon Society leadership for more than three decades serving as Co-President, Conservation Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Echo Editor, and Publications Chair.  Integral grassroots advocate; served as the Chair for the Washington State Audubon Conservation Committee.  A champion for a collaborative Audubon voice at all levels. Thoughtful, insightful, steady and trusted voice for the Audubon network in Washington.  A positive force for change who tackles issues and challenges with intelligence, organization, a wealth of history and wisdom.  READ MORE