Heinz Award bestowed on Dr. Nancy Rabalais

By Holly Hebert
January 2, 2012

The 17th Heinz Awards, in memory of U.S. Senator John Heinz, celebrated the power of the individual, with a special focus on the environment. Dr. Nancy Rabalais, Executive Director of LUMCON and Professor, was one of nine awardees honored in a ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC on November 15. Dr. Rabalais was honored as the driving force behind identifying and characterizing the dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico’s ‘dead zone’ and for advocating for cleaner, healthier waters. She was one of three ‘ocean-oriented’ scientists honored; others were Dr. Joan Kleypas, National Center for Atmospheric Research, a marine geologist who studies ocean acidification and coral reefs, and Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian Institution, a champion for marine biodiversity and coral reef protection and restoration. All three are also Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Fellows. Other awardees included a composer, a climate change expert, a biomimicry expert, an alligator reproductive biologist, an author, and a team of documentary filmmakers. The filmmakers, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, produced King Corn, Big River, and Truck Farm. Dr. Rabalais was one of the many interviewed by the team for Big River. Short biographies, and soon videos, of the awardees are/will be available on the Heinz Family Foundation web site at http://www.heinzawards.net/recipients?round=17.  Nancy was honored to have former LUMCONers, Ben Cole, Don Boesch and Don’s wife Mike, her husband Gene Turner, and several from the Ocean Studies Board and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership present with her at the ceremony. As she said at the ceremony, “What can I say? I’m honored, really honored, exceptionally honored;” and then she honored the many researchers who have set sail into the Gulf of Mexico in support of hypoxia research.

Video links (Quicktime):

Dr. Rabalais explains hypoxia in her Heinz Award Profile video.

Dr. Rabalais accepts the Heinz Award.