Environmental Excellence Awards Presented at AUNE

The Department of Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England (AUNE) presented two Environmental Excellence awards at the department’s year-end ceremony on Friday, May 13, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Community Room.

The Alumni Environmental Excellence 2011 Award was presented to Scott Hecker, executive director of the Goldenrod Foundation. The Community Member Environmental Excellence 2011 Award went to Greg Watson, senior advisor for clean energy technology in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

The awards are given each year to an AUNE alumnus or alumna and to another person who have contributed significantly to sustainability and environmental protection through their work or personal actions.

About Scott Hecker
Scott Hecker (MS ’87) completed a master’s degree in resource management at AUNE in April 1987 and the next month went to work as a tern warden for the Massachusetts Audubon Society in Plymouth Beach. His affection for this remarkable beach and his passion for protecting threatened terns and plovers have only increased since that day. He is now the executive director of the Plymouth-based Goldenrod Foundation, which advocates protection of barrier-beach ecosystems through science-based advocacy and policy initiatives.

Hecker served as director of the Coastal Waterbird Program for Massachusetts Audubon between 1987 and 2002, playing a vital role in developing research, advocacy and education to protect threatened terns and plovers and conserve barrier beaches. The work of his staff and partners contributed to the dramatic rebound of the piping plover, which has been designated by the federal government as threatened, from 126 pairs in 1987 to 530 pairs in 2002.

From 2003 to 2008, Hecker developed the Coastal Bird Conservation Program for the National Audubon Society. As director, he broadened the reach of Audubon’s effective model to include a larger number of threatened coastal birds species and additional states on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Hecker is the author of “The Piping Plover as an Umbrella Species for the Barrier Beach Ecosystem,” published in Saving Biological Diversity.

About Greg Watson
Greg Watson is senior advisor for clean energy technology in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Watson’s long career of exemplary, cutting-edge public service has included serving as executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI). Since residents of the Dudley Street neighborhood of Roxbury, Massachusetts, won eminent-domain power to redevelop abandoned property in their community, DSNI has become a beacon in the community development field.

Watson is the current vice chair of the board of directors for Bioneers, a nonprofit organization that provides solutions-based education and social connectivity through conferences and programs. He has also been director of educational programs for Second Nature, supporting senior college and university leaders in making healthy, just and sustainable living the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.

He has been executive director of the New Alchemy Institute, director of the Nature Conservancy’s Eastern regional office and commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture.