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Gaye S. Farris of Lafayette, Louisiana Receives GULF GUARDIAN AWARD


STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that Ms Gaye Farris of the United States Geological Survey, National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, Louisiana will receive a second place Gulf Guardian Award for 2007 in the Individual Category. The awards will be presented during the 2007 Clean Gulf Conference on November 14, 2007 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Bayside Ballroom in Tampa, Florida beginning at 6 p.m.

Gaye Farris is a woman who is tied to the gulf coast by birth and who has made a career of more than effectively communicating information about the coast and its natural resources. She has physically lived at so many locations that were affected by the storms of 2005: grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, raised her children in Slidell, La., and now lives in western Louisiana. Her lifelong experience of 30 years in communicating--first as a reporter, then teacher, then leader of USGS communications and publications—was poignantly challenged when she had to be detached enough to communicate the effects of the storms and plans to recover as well as take care of family members who had evacuated from New Orleans. She had to view countless photographs and videos showing the destruction of her beloved landscapes, and then help get science information and proposals ready for users and decision makers. Her lifelong achievements, as well as her tireless commitment to communicating during a time of chaos, make her worthy of this Gulf Guardian Award.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in seven categories – individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, partnership and bi-national efforts.

“Gulf Guardian awards showcase accomplishments from a broad spectrum of environmental leaders -- from committed individuals to dynamic corporations,” EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. “I applaud their success in preserving the vital resources of the Gulf Coast, one of our most valuable national treasures.”

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

Bryon Griffith, Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said “This is the 8th year of the Gulf Guardian Awards Program and I am proud to say that each year the winners in all categories have represented the very best of environmental accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico. The 2007 award winners truly exemplify the bond that enthusiastic and committed citizens, communities, governments, and businesses share in addressing complex problems to improve, protect, and sustain our regional and national treasure, the Gulf of Mexico.”


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