Haskell Award Winners
PARC is proud to announce the 2013 recipient of the Alison Haskell Award is Charles Painter.
Charlie's career long contributions to herpetofauna conservation, leadership roles and ability to build effective partnerships make him a very deserving winner of this award. Through this award, PARC recognizes Charlie's outstanding passion for, and dedication to, conservation of amphibians and reptiles through quality science, education and partnerships.
He has formed numerous partnerships to implement conservation actions with local, state and federal agencies, universities, tribes and private landowners, among others. Charlie has developed conservation teams, plans or actions for the Jemez Mountain Salamander, Sacramento Mountain Salamander, Chiricahua Leopard Frog, Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, New Mexico Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake, Boreal Toad, Western River Cooter, Big Bend Slider and all of New Mexico's other fascinating herpetofauna. He's developed and fostered a strong relationship with the Museum of Southwestern Biology at the University of New Mexico, through which one of the strongest herpetofauna collections in the nation has been built and maintained. He's displayed tenacious effort by developing commercial trade regulations for New Mexico's amphibians and reptiles and studying rattlesnake roundups in the region. Also, Charlie has participated in Southwest PARC and assisted in numerous regional and national PARC efforts to compile information on our nation's amphibians and reptiles.
His academic achievements have significantly advanced herpetofauna conservation. He's served on thesis and dissertation committees that shaped several scholars in herpetology that have gone on to make valuable contributions to the scientific community. Charlie has authored over 80 peer reviewed articles, served as editor for Herpetological Review, became the first state herpetologist for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and has remained committed for over 25 years, and authored the 1996 book Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico. In addition to these accomplishments, he still finds time to teach school children about the importance and fascinating nature of amphibians and reptiles.
Charlie's achievements are truly noteworthy and deserve great recognition from the herpetofauna conservation community. PARC thanks him for his tireless and continued passion, work and dedication to amphibians and reptiles!
PARC is proud to announce that the winner of the second (2012) Alison Haskell Award for Excellence in Herpetofaunal Conservation was Dr. Deanna (Dede) H. Olson.
Dede earned her Ph.D. at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Among her many roles she now serves as Leader of the Aquatic Ecology and Management Team for the U.S. Forest Service where she is employed as Supervisory Research Ecologist at the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis. Additionally she is a Courtesy Faculty member at Oregon State University, an Associate Editor for Herpetological Review and past Associate Editor for the Northwestern Naturalist, out-going Co-Chair of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation where she will continue to serve as an ex-officio member of Joint National Steering Commmittee, and the Lead of the Aquatic Biodiversity in Forests working party for the International Union of Forest Research Organizations.
Prior to becoming the Co-chair of the Joint National Steering Committee of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation she was the Co-Chair from 1999-2009 of the PARC Northwest Regional Working Group. Other partnerships she developed include with the Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology where she has served as both Vice-President and President and the Pacific Northwest Working Group, Declining Amphibians Populations Task Force where she served as Co-chair.
Dr. Olson has fostered conservation through research, often in partnership with land managers, and through outreach and education. Dede is well-known for her leadership of the Riparian Buffer study that she initiated in 1994 in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management. She has been at the lead of an international effort to characterize the global extent and implications of amphibian declines associated with the fungus known as Bd. She has also taken a leadership role in The Year of the Turtle (2011) and The Year of the Lizard (2012).
Dr. Olson provides a broad range of service across scientific working groups, mentorship, and conservation education. Of particular importance has been the role Dede has played as mentor. Through various university affiliations, she has served as guiding professor for 8 students and a committee member 26 students. Additional she has mentored both undergraduate and high school students. She has served as chair and in other leadership positions for several professional societies. Most recently she serves as a committee member of an international group focused on aquatic biodiversity. In this role Dr. Olson organized a symposium for the 2010 International Union of Forest Research Organizations World Congress in Seoul, Korea. Dede's work in the area of conservation is reflected in her over 90 publications that directly address conservation of biodiversity.
Our first-ever Alison Haskell Excellence in Herpetofaunal Conservation Award winner was Alvin R. "Al" Breisch. Al was the Amphibian and Reptile Specialist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for 26 years until he retired in 2009. He is a current National Co-Chair of PARC, and was a founding member of Northeast PARC.
Al Breisch has fostered herpetofaunal conservation for his entire adult life, through his chosen career with the state of New York, as well as in his participation in multiple groups such as PARC, partnerships with universities and other organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society, mentorship of students of all ages, and leadership in numerous efforts to conserve multiple species of herpetofauna within New York and across the country.
From 1980 to his retirement in 2009, Al was a dedicated and well-respected Senior Wildlife Biologist with the New York State Dept of Environmental Conservation. He served as the Amphibian and Reptile Specialist for the Endangered Species Unit from 1983-2009. In that capacity, Al led state-wide efforts for all aspects of herpetofaunal conservation through research, monitoring, regulatory review, teaching and law enforcement. Some of his many accomplishments include:
- Serving as Project Director of the New York Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project
- Serving as a member of a multi-state team to prepare a Timber Rattlesnake Conservation Action Plan for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS);
- Designing and conducting habitat use studies of bog turtles and separately with Blanding's turtles;
- Coordinating New York State's efforts to document distribution and population status of rare and endangered herpetofauna;
- Assisting the Albany County Office of Natural Resource Conservation with planning and design of New York's first amphibian tunnels, constructed in 1999.
Al may be best known for his role as Mentor. He has provided technical assistance to NYDEC staff, students, faculty, and independent contractors with their field studies of various amphibians and reptiles from throughout the Northeast to Texas and to the West Indies. He has taught at SUNY-Cobleskill and has been an invited speaker to numerous colleges and university classes. He has served as thesis advisor and on graduate student committees at the State University of New York at Albany, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, and Bard College. He has led countless school groups, 4-H clubs, scouts, college classes, as well as his two daughters and now his grandchildren, on field trips to show them the natural world, particularly the herpetofauna he loves.
Conservationists young and old, local and nationally known, and from numerous agencies and organizations, have enjoyed working with, and being inspired by, Al's dedication, expertise, gentle nature, and quiet wit. In his retirement Al continues to oversee several projects including the NYS Amphibian and Reptile Atlas, and on many a rainy night, he can be found near the amphibian tunnels built near his home monitoring their effectiveness. PARC congratulates our "unsung hero" Al Breisch as our first-ever Alison Haskell Award winner.