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Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship Award

Click here for nomination form

2023: Award not given

2022: Dr. Jennifer (Jen) Tank

Dr. Jennifer (Jen) Tank is the Ludmilla F., Stephen J., and Robert T. Galla Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, the Director of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative. Jen’s scientific contributions have advanced our understanding of the ecology and biogeochemistry of agriculturally impacted streams, ultimately influencing and guiding stream management and conservation. 

Among Jen’s most notable research accomplishments are the application of stream nutrient spiraling theory to understand how agricultural land use modifies the uptake and transformation of nutrients, and how the timing of nitrogen export from agricultural watersheds influenced the capacity of streams, reservoirs, and restored floodplains to process and remove that nitrogen. Additionally, she extended the scientific understanding of how agricultural practices influence streams by quantifying how corn crops genetically modified with the insecticide Bt contribute detritus to agricultural streams and how Bt moves through and affects stream ecosystems. 

In addition to being a leader in the biogeochemical scientific community, Jen has actively engaged the agricultural and conservation sectors, most notably with her recent project, the Indiana Watershed Initiative, which is investigating potential solutions to mitigate water quality issues, such as planting cover crops and implementing stream channel management strategies. With her multi-stakeholder, collaborative approach as a frame for pursuing science that matters, Jen is at the forefront of the nascent field of translational ecology. 

Jen has served SFS in many roles, most recently as President in 2019. She is also a SFS Fellow. She is a tireless educator and student promoter, as attested in her nomination letter, signed by over 20 former students and staff, who wrote, “Jen has had an immeasurable and lasting positive impact on the science of biogeochemistry, the practice of water quality management, and the careers of many scientists.”  

About the Award:

The recipient of the SFS ESA will be a Society member or non-member who has successfully translated scientific knowledge into the social/public arena through policy or regulatory reform, research that enhances freshwater ecosystem rehabilitation or conservation, or public outreach and science education that strengthens public support for managing freshwater ecosystems.  The nominating letter should clearly and directly link the nominee’s activities to positive policy, conservation, and/or societal outcomes regarding the preservation and wise management of freshwater ecosystems.  Nominations of people from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to increase the diversity of SFS Awardees.  Submit your nominations for the SFS Environmental Stewardship Award here.