NOAA 2005-R807
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NOAA News Releases 2005
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Diane Stanitski, Ph.D., received the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Environmental Hero Award last evening at a reception on Capitol Hill hosted by Representative Marion Berry (D-AR) honoring NOAA Teachers at Sea. The award was presented by Timothy R.E. Keeney, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere.

Held in conjunction with Earth Day celebrations, the award honors NOAA volunteers for their “tireless efforts to preserve and protect our nation's environment.” Stanitski was recognized for co-authoring, with fellow teacher Mary Cook, the first NOAA Teacher at Sea book based on their experiences aboard NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown in December 2004. Illustrated by the ship’s chief boatswain, Bruce Cowden, the book covers the oceanic and atmospheric research that was conducted onboard the ship, including deployment of a tsunami buoy off Chile just days before a giant tsunami decimated several Indian Ocean nations, and NOAA's new "Adopt a Drifter" (a drifter is a buoy) program.

The hard-cover book is written at the middle school science level and was reviewed and edited by middle school science teachers and scientists. Its content includes science and math activities, a glossary of terms and full-color images.

Stanitski and Cook were not tasked with this activity and received no reimbursement for their creativity. The book was distributed to teachers at the National Science Teachers Association national conference in Dallas in early April.

“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 26th 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.

“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 2005 Environmental Hero award,” Lautenbacher wrote in a letter to Stanitski. “Your dedicated efforts and outstanding accomplishments greatly benefit the environment and make our nation a better place for all Americans.”

Stanitski is currently on leave of absence from her position as an associate professor in the Geography-Earth Science Department of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania; she is currently a program manager in the NOAA Office of Climate Observation in Silver Spring, Md.

Stanitski currently resides in Shippensburg. She is a native of Warsaw, N.Y.; her parents, Ray and Pat Stanitski, still maintain a home in the vicinity.

NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program offers teachers of all grade levels an opportunity to gain hands-on research experience aboard NOAA ships. Teachers can enrich their classroom curricula with a depth of understanding made possible by living and working side-by-side with those who contribute to the world’s body of scientific knowledge.

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.

On the Web:


NOAA Adopt A Drifter:

NOAA Office of Climate Observation: