Above: Terrestrial Garter Snake © Chuck Peterson
The NW PARC Luminary Award
The NW PARC Luminary Award recognizes inspiring individuals who have been a beacon of light for herpetology in the Northwest and have influenced others in the field of amphibian and reptile conservation. The Luminary Award recognizes an individual who exemplifies extraordinary leadership, vision, and commitment to amphibian and reptile conservation in the Northwest.
2017 Luminary Award Recipient—Hartwell H. Welsh Jr.
The 2017 Luminary Award is presented to Hartwell H. Welsh Jr. by the Northwest Chapter of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. Hart has made career-long contributions to the conservation of amphibians, reptiles, and their habitats. He is regarded as an expert of many amphibian and reptile species, and has studied the use of amphibians as indicators of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem health and recovery. A recent study of his revealed that woodland salamanders perform a vital ecological service in forests by slowing the release of carbon into the atmosphere. Hart has developed habitat models for many forest amphibians and reptiles of the Pacific Northwest to help managers under-stand habitat requirements and to address stressors such as timber harvest and water diversions. Hart worked for 30 years for the U.S. Forest Service and also held an adjunct faculty position for 25 years in the Department of Wildlife at Humboldt State University, where he mentored many graduate students over the years.
2016 Luminary Award Recipient—Chuck Peterson
Dr. Charles R. (Chuck) Peterson of Idaho State University is the first recipient of NW PARC’s Luminary Award. Chuck has been a beacon of light for Northwest herpetology for over 40 years. He has focused much of his work on the ecology and conservation biology of amphibians and reptiles of the Intermountain West. Across the Northwest, he is the sole remaining academic herpetologist in the classic style, devoted to field ecology and natural history studies. He has a sincere passion for the animals he studies, and that enthusiasm has been infectious for the scores of students he has influenced over the years. He initiated one of the first State Chapters of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation in Idaho, and continues to lead the Idaho Chapter, bringing the little known amphibians and reptiles to the forefront for consideration by natural resource managers and scientists.
Chuck arrived at Washington State University for his Doctorate in 1974. After a stint as a Post-Doc at the University of Chicago, he returned to the West when he became an Assistant Professor at Idaho State University (ISU) in 1988, where he remains today as a Professor of Zoology. He also is Curator of Icththyology and Herpetology at the Idaho Museum of Natural History. Throughout his long career, he has authored numerous significant journal articles and has coauthored a book on regional herpetofauna. He has been recognized for his impact in the field of herpetology previously: he received the Outstanding Herpetologist award from the Idaho Herpetological Society in 1997, the Professional Wildlifer Award from the Idaho Chapter of the Wildlife Society in 1998, an ISU outstanding researcher award in 1999, an ISU outstanding public service award in 2000, the ISU distinguished public service award in 2001, and an ISU outstanding researcher award in 2002. Chuck is an inspiration to us all and is well-deserving as the inaugural recipient of the Northwest PARC Luminary Award.
The NW PARC Unsung Hero Award
The Unsung Hero Award recognizes those individuals who have worked tirelessly over many years in herptile conservation to little or no acclaim, yet have still greatly influenced the conservation of many amphibian and reptile species. Unsung Heroes are those people who work in this field because they care deeply and want to see a future where all species are valued.
2017 Unsung Hero Award Recipients
Two 2017 Unsung Hero Award winners were announced this year at the annual meeting in Arcata, CA:
Char Corkran and Deb Patla.
Char Corkran, from Portland, Oregon, has been a passionate force for Northwestern amphibian and reptile conservation for over 30 years. As a naturalist she is unparalleled, and has worked with numerous partner groups to foster herpetofaunal inventory and monitoring trainings and programs, habitat restoration projects, and educational products. Her extensive experience and understanding of amphibians led her to write, with co-author Chris Thoms, the 1996 Amphibians of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia: A Field Identification Guide, an indispensable resource. Char developed a well-known training program for identifying pond-breeding amphibians and she has similarly influenced Western pond turtle monitoring in the region. Additionally, she helped to organize a local nonprofit, the Northwest Ecological Research Institute (NERI, 1984−present), which has been and continues to be an essential mechanism for the implementation of herpetological surveys.
Debra Patla, of Moran, Wyoming, has dedicated herself for nearly three decades to amphibian conservation in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA). Then and today, she is regarded as a fervent conservationist. Deb has maintained meticulous records on amphibian breeding and disease-related mortality and co-authored an interagency amphibian monitoring protocol used throughout the northern Rockies. Deb may be best known for her long-term monitoring of Columbia spotted frogs in the Lodge Creek drainage of Yellowstone – a study that followed Dr. Fred Turner’s painstaking research on the natural history of the species. Deb’s leadership in amphibian research and conservation has helped cultivate partnerships among state and federal agencies, and she is considered the champion and voice for amphibian conservation in the GYA.