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Texas Master Naturalist receives Gulf Guardian Award

Release Date: 12/05/2006
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

Mr. Richard Benoit, of League City, recognized for environmental efforts

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that Mr. Richard Benoit, a Texas Master Naturalist, of League City, Texas, will receive a third place Gulf Guardian Award for 2006 in the Individual Category. This award will be presented to Mr. Benoit during the 3rd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration on December 13, 2006 at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana, beginning at 6 p.m.

Richard Benoit has been an active environmentalist for most of his life, whether as a science teacher of 35 years in Michigan, a hawk watcher of 31 years, or a Texas Master Naturalist volunteer of 10 years. Richard (Dick) has spent his retirement volunteering (6,634.5 hours and still counting!) to restore and protect valuable diminishing Texas coastal habitats. He is a leader in many ways including collecting and germinating rare prairie plants at his home and then dispersing them to local preserves, an on-going commitment to HawkWatch, and continuing efforts to provide conservation training to teachers in the Galveston Bay Area. Richard (Dick) Benoit received a B.S. in Science Education from Wayne State University and a M.S. from the University of Michigan. Dick was an AIMS (Activities that Integrate Math and Science) presenter for five years in California and conducted AIMS workshops in Michigan, Texas, Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio. He taught “Methods for Secondary Science Education for Teachers” at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and taught “Environmental Sciences and Methods” courses at Wayne State University.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. Award entries were received from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in seven categories – individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, partnership and bi-national efforts.

"The issues affecting the Gulf Coast are among the most dynamic and variable that the nation faces, and the collaborating partners who address these issues daily exhibit the diverse range of skills needed to advance environmental protection in the region," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. "I applaud this year's winners of the Gulf Guardian Awards for their leadership and their ability to join together and achieve extraordinary goals."

Gulf of Mexico Program Office Director Bryon O. Griffith said, “This year’s Gulf Guardian Award winners exemplify the bond that engaged citizens, communities, governments, and businesses share for protecting the ecological engine that drives the economy of the Region and much of the Nation, the Gulf of Mexico, “America’s Sea.” The 2006 award winners illustrate the limitless results that can be attained when we effectively share and focus our resources and strengths to address complex environmental problems.”

For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2006, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo and click on the Gulf Guardian Award button.

The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call the Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or visit our web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo. For more information about Mr. Richard Benoit, you may contact him at (281) 554-9017.

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