Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award
Dr. Ruth Patrick
Thomas J. Kerr
Dr. Ruth Patrick and Thomas J. Kerr were named as recipients of the 2006 Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award.
Dr. Ruth Patrick holds the Francis Boyer Chair of Limnology at the Academy of Natural Sciences and has been an advocate of environmental protection and resource conservation in Pennsylvania and around the world. In the late 1940s, Dr. Patrick developed methods for monitoring environmental health that are now the standard for evaluating rivers and streams. Much of Dr. Patrick’s career has been spent studying the main stem of the Delaware and its tributaries and analyzing the impact of human development.
She was one of the first scientists to apply an “ecosystem approach,” using both biological and physical conditions of a river to evaluate water quality. She was the first environmental scientist to sit on the board of the DuPont Corporation. She served as an advisor on water pollution and acid rain to presidents Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan.
Thomas Kerr is the former chief executive officer of Wildlands Conservancy, one of the largest organizations of its type in the state. He worked extensively with Pennsylvania and United States law makers to advance environmental legislation and to fund support for the implementation of Wildlands projects and programs.
Kerr is one of the founding board members of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association and has served on the board of the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers. He led two countywide initiatives to pass ballot referenda to establish a total of $67 million for open-space and park acquisition in 2002. He helped ensure the passage of the Growing Greener II environmental bond fund referendum in May 2005.