FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Susan Buchanan
News Releases 2003
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency of the Department of Commerce, has selected William A. McLellan, research scientist at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, as one of this year’s NOAA Environmental Hero Award recipients. The award recognizes McLellan for his outstanding efforts to respond to and investigate marine mammal strandings throughout the nation. The award was presented by Laurie Allen, director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources on April 27 at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington during an Earth Day Celebration.
Held in conjunction with Earth Day celebrations, the award honors NOAA volunteers for their “tireless efforts to preserve and protect our nation's environment.” McLellan has been responding to strandings for more than 18 years and is currently the large whale necropsy team lead for the Mid-Atlantic and the North Carolina state stranding coordinator. He has volunteered numerous hours and driven thousands of miles in his effort to assist the stranding network and scientists in understanding the causes of strandings, including human induced mortalities, basic biology and the causes of die-offs. McLellan has responded to die-offs on the West Coast in 1998 and in Texas in 1994 and has responded to requests for assistance whenever requested. McLellan has been a significant part of the large whale response team along the Atlantic coast, spending many days necropsying animals to determine what caused them to die.
“NOAA and the nation are fortunate to have such dedicated people volunteer so much of their time,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “They set a perfect example for others to follow in their communities. America needs more environmental heroes like them.”
Established in 1995 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day, the Environmental Hero award is presented to individuals and organizations that volunteer their time and energy to help NOAA carry out its mission. Previous recipients include oceanographers Jean-Michel Cousteau and Sylvia Earle, and actor Ted Danson, head of the American Oceans Campaign.
“On behalf of the 12,500 men and women working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, I am pleased to present you with this 2003 Environmental Hero Award,” wrote retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, in a letter to the recipients. “Your dedicated efforts and outstanding accomplishments greatly benefit the environment and make our nation a better place for all Americans.”
There are a total of 36 winners — 35 individuals and one organization. Five awards are being presented posthumously. Recipients of the 2003 NOAA Environmental Heroes Award are:
Recipient and Location
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
On the Web: