NOAA 2000-408
Contact: Connie Barclay


Michael Magnum, director of recreation at Ocean County Parks and a volunteer at the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, has been named an Environmental Hero by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. New Jersey native Elgie Holstein, senior advisor to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary William Daley, presented the award at the Tuckerton Seaport, today.

This is the fifth consecutive year in which NOAA has recognized local citizens throughout the United States who have contributed to the protection and preservation of the nation's environment. This year there are a total of 72 honorees - 68 individuals and four organizations. Vice President Al Gore sent each of the environmental heroes a personal letter of congratulations.

"This Administration has made significant progress in environmental protection, and we must continue to build on these achievements to ensure that current and future generations can enjoy a healthy and thriving environment," states Gore. "With your help, we have repeatedly and successfully demonstrated that economic growth can go hand-in-hand with efforts to sustain and protect the environment."

Magnum has been working with the reserve since 1994, prior to its federal designation as a research reserve in 1997. He is devoted to this part of the New Jersery coast and has dedicated a great deal of time to its protection. He actively participates on the education sub-committee of the reserve advisory committee and has offered his professional talents, advice and expertise in a wide-range of reserve issues and programs. He is also a former trustee of Tuckerton Seaport.

Janice McDonnell, education coordinator for the reserve, nominated Magnum for the award. "Michael has been instrumental in assisting the reserve in developing family science programs and field trips," states McDonnell. "He matches reserve resources with resources from Ocean County Parks. For example, he donates three to five days of kayak trips - the boats, guides, and interpretation - for reserve audiences. Mike is the type of partner that is always there when you need him for support, guidance or assistance on reserve issues. "

"Volunteers are a critical part of the reserve system. We depend on them to carry out our mission of coastal stewardship," states Holstein. "Michael is a highly skilled naturalist and interpreter who is quick to share his resources and talents with the reserve program. He has helped this newly designated reserve to gain public support quickly through his extraordinary efforts."

Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of 25 reserves administered by NOAA's National Ocean Service in partnership with coastal states. Managed by Rutgers University-Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, the reserve currently encompasses 114,665 acres of wetlands, riparian habitats, barrier islands and forested uplands. The area is regarded as one of the least disturbed estuaries in the densely populated urban corridor of the Northeast United States.

Visit for more information on the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Visit to learn more about the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve.