Allegheny Grad Scott Jackson Named 2013 Conservationist of the Year by Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts

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Dec. 13, 2013 — The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts has named Scott Jackson, a 1980 graduate of Allegheny College, as the Conservancy’s 2013 Conservationist of the Year.

“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.”

Jackson, an extension associate professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, was honored yesterday at the Conservancy’s Boston office.

“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.”

Jackon’s many contributions to conservation in Massachusetts and beyond include:

• Co-founding, along with the Conservancy and the Massachusetts Riverways Program (now the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration) the River and Stream Continuity Project. The project 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.

• Acting as a leader in 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 United States and Canada.

• Co-leading the statewide “Critical Linkages” connectivity assessment completed in 2013 by the UMass 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.

Prior honorees include:
 Deval Patrick, Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
; Mary Griffin, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game
; Ian Bowles, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
; Bernie McHugh, Volunteer Coordinator, Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition
; Henry Woolsey, Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program
; Representative John Olver, Massachusetts 1st District Congressman
; and Robert O’Connor, Director of Land and Forest Conservation for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide.