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December 13, 2016


The Virginia Museum of Natural History has announced the award recipients for its 30th annual Thomas Jefferson Awards ceremony to be held Thursday, March 16, 2017 from 6 to 7:15 p.m. at the museum in Martinsville.  A reception will follow the awards ceremony from 7:15 to 8 p.m.  The keynote speaker will be announced in the coming weeks.

The VMNH Foundation Thomas Jefferson Awards ceremony is a statewide event that honors individuals, companies and organizations for outstanding contributions to natural science and natural science education in Virginia.  The 2017 awards ceremony is sponsored by Bassett Furniture, Norfolk Southern, and The Lester Group.

The Thomas Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Natural Science will be presented to Dr. Patricia M. Dove, University Distinguished Professor and C.P. Miles Professor of Science, Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech.  This award is presented to an individual who has consistently made outstanding contributions to natural science.  Dr. Dove is being honored for her cutting edge research in biomineralization – the study of how animals incorporate minerals into skeletons and other organic structures.  Dr. Dove is a recipient of the Dana Medal from the Mineralogical Society of America and was honored as Virginia Scientist of the Year in 2013 by the Office of the Governor.

The Thomas Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Natural Science Education will be presented to Dr. Linda S. Fink, Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Ecology, Department of Biology, Sweet Briar College.  This award is presented to a Virginia educator who has made significant contributions to natural science education at any academic level.  Dr. Fink is being recognized for her illustrious career of over 25 years at Sweet Briar College, where she has dedicated her time inspiring her students with creative and original teaching perspectives that instill curiosity and appreciation for the natural world.  Through unique perspectives, including incorporating the arts and natural history filmmaking, as well as prioritizing a teaching style that emphasizes field study and interactive participation over lecture-based teaching, Dr. Fink has dedicated her career to the advancement of natural history education.

The William Barton Rogers Corporate Award will be presented to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.  This award is given to a corporation or organization that has shown significant support for the natural sciences in Virginia, through contributions to research, science education, or other relevant programs of the Virginia Museum of Natural History.  The Virginia Museum of Natural History is a Smithsonian Affiliate and the National Museum of Natural History has supported VMNH research, education and exhibits for over a decade.  Most recently, the Smithsonian donated its iconic Stegosaurus skeleton to VMNH, with this one-of-a-kind display to be unveiled at the Dino Day Festival July 21-22, 2017 and accompanying Dinosaursspecial exhibit, as part of the Year of Discovery.

The William Barton Rogers Individual Award will be presented to the Hermes Family Foundation.  This award is given to an individual or organization that has shown significant support for the natural sciences in Virginia, through contributions to research, science education, or other relevant programs of the Virginia Museum of Natural History.  The Hermes Family Foundation has been a major contributor to the museum for nearly 20 years, providing support for an array of museum programs in science education and exhibits.  Recently supported programs include the Ice Age exhibit, as well as scholarship funding to allow school students to take part in a variety of of the museum's education programming.

The Matthew Fontaine Maury Distinguished Service Award will be presented to the editors of the recently published Geology of Virginia.  The editors include Dr. Christopher M. Bailey, Professor and Chair, Department of Geology, College of William and Mary;  the late Dr. W. Cullen Sherwood, Emeritus Professor, Department of Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University;  Dr. L. Scott Eaton, Professor of Geology, Department of Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University;  and Dr. David S. Powars, Research Geologist, United States Geological Survey.  This award is given to an individual, individuals, or organization that has provided exemplary service to the Virginia Museum of Natural History or natural sciences in Virginia.  The Geology of Virginia is the first comprehensive review of Virginia's geology published in over a century.  It describes, in depth, the geological features and history of Virginia, with detailed information about all regions of the Commonwealth.

To learn more about this event and other programs during “The Year of Discovery,” or to purchase tickets call 276-634-4162.

The 30th Annual Thomas Jefferson Awards is sponsored by:

                          
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