Hickory Corners, Mich. – Stephen K. Hamilton, MSU professor of ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry, and associate director of the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, is the recipient of the 2015 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Society of Freshwater Science (SFS).
Hamilton’s work as an academic researcher and environmental steward of local (e.g., Kalamazoo River), regional (e.g., Great Lakes), and global (e.g., tropical rivers and wetlands in South America and Australia) watersheds were cited in giving him this honor.
For more than eight years, Hamilton has served as president of the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council (KRWC), a non-governmental organization that works to improve and protect the health of the Kalamazoo River Watershed and serves as the public advisory council for the Superfund site on the lower river. Hamilton’s professionalism and science-based advocacy has been evident in the aftermath of the Kalamazoo River oil spill, the largest and most costly inland oil spill in U.S. history, which released tar sands oil into the river in July 2010. Hamilton has advised policy makers, clean-up crews and community members on an ongoing basis since the spill. He currently serves on a National Research Council committee charged with analyzing the environmental impacts of tar sands oil spills.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue a profession that prepares and allows me to work on behalf of the environment, and to contribute to understanding environmental problems and improving environmental literacy,” said Hamilton, who will receive the award in May at the SFS annual meeting in Milwaukee, Wisc.
Hamilton’s students say they admire his passion and dedication to conservation and management of all things water. He has educated people from all walks of life about freshwater resources, and encourages exploring nature on foot, in a kayak or with a snorkel. Hamilton, who is also a professor in the Department of Zoology in MSU’s College of Natural Science, mentors students in the field and in the lab with a seemingly unlimited knowledge of water, nutrients and related ecosystem processes. It was Hamilton’s graduate students, present and former, who put together the nomination form.
The Society for Freshwater Science is an international scientific organization whose purpose is to promote further understanding of freshwater ecosystems (rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries) and ecosystems at the interface between aquatic and terrestrial habitats (wetlands, bogs, fens, riparian forests and grasslands).