Jefferson Awards Presented
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The Virginia Museum of Natural History honored businesses, groups and individuals at the 22nd annual Thomas Jefferson Awards on Wednesday.
The award recipients were recognized for their contributions to and support for natural science. The recipients ranged from a professor emeritus of biology to a local quarry and a veteran volunteer.
The awards and recipients were:
"¢ Dr. Cleveland P. Hickman Jr., professor emeritus of biology at Washington and Lee University, who received the Thomas Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Natural Science. This award is presented to an individual who has consistently made outstanding contributions to natural history, according to Judith Winston, curator of marine biology at the museum. Winston presented the award.
Hickman taught biology at Washington and Lee from 1967 to 1993, has written three biology textbooks and has conducted extensive research in the Galapagos Islands since his retirement.
"¢ Anne Boschen Wright, coordinator of life sciences outreach education at Virginia Commonwealth University, who received the Thomas Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Natural Science Education. That award is presented to a Virginia educator who has consistently made outstanding contributions to natural history, environmental and science education in either the formal or nonformal sectors.
Wright's work has included training programs for students and teachers as well as research, according to Debbie Lewis, director of development at the museum, who presented the award.
"¢ Boxley Materials Co., which received the William Barton Rogers Corporate Award, presented to a corporation that has shown significant support for the natural sciences in Virginia, through contributions to research, science education or other relevant programs of the museum. It was accepted by Charles Craddock, superintendent of Boxley's Fieldale Quarry.
James Beard, director of research and collections at the museum, presented the award and told of the 20-year relationship between the quarry and the museum. The quarry has welcomed school groups and teachers to foster education, and it also is a good steward of the environment, he said.
Beard especially recognized Boxley's donation of a 6-foot stromatolite, the first intact one found in Virginia, and its help in getting the piece to the museum from Boxley Blue Ridge Quarry.
"¢ Ward Littlefield, who received the William Barton Rogers Individual Award, which is presented to an individual who has shown significant support for the natural sciences in Virginia through contributions to research, science education or other relevant programs of the museum.
Littlefield, who is retired, has volunteered at the museum for about 20 years, helping in the archaeology lab as well as in the field, according to Elizabeth Moore, curator of archaeology, who presented the award. Littlefield told the 60 people present that he understands "work deters the ravages of time on the mind, the body and perhaps the soul."
"¢ The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA), which received the Matthew Fontaine Maury Distinguished Service Award, presented to an individual or corporation that has provided exemplary service in the development of VMNH. The award was accepted by Brian Williams and Jennifer Doss of DRBA.
Dr. David Jones, a VMNH board member and founder of the Trout in the Classroom project locally, described the extensive work done by DRBA since The Harvest Foundation approved a grant that led to its work here. Included are creating a new system of rivers and trails, taking over the Trout in the Classroom project, creating Smith River kayak access points, creating heritage projects and more. DRBA has "promoted the ideas of the Virginia Museum of Natural History," Jones added.
"¢ The Martinsville Bulletin, which received the Noel T. Boaz Director's Award, selected by the VMNH executive director. It is presented to an individual or organization that has made significant contributions, through volunteer efforts or financial support, to enable the museum to be a more successful institution and to secure its future as a great museum benefiting all citizens of the commonwealth of Virginia.
Interim Executive Director Gloria Niblett noted that since the museum began in a former school building in 1984 and through the opening of its new building on Starling Avenue, "The Martinsville Bulletin has played an important and necessary role in its overall success" through its news coverage. She praised the Bulletin's "fair, accurate and invaluable coverage, which culminated in this recognition."
The Bulletin has covered all types of events, research, education and other aspects of the museum and has recognized VMNH's role as the state museum of natural history, Niblett said.
The award was accepted by Bulletin Editor Ginny Wray.