Hudsonia Executive Director and Bard Alumnus Erik Kiviat ’76 Wins Prestigious Higher Education Environmental Award
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— The Environmental Consortium of Colleges & Universities has awarded its Great Work Award in honor of Thomas Berry this year to Erik Kiviat ’76, executive director and cofounder of Hudsonia, a not-for-profit institute for research, education, and technical assistance in the environmental sciences based at the Bard College Field Station on the Hudson River. A certified wetland scientist, Kiviat has more than 45 years’ experience with natural history and environmental issues—especially those related to rare native species as well as invasive nonnative species—in the Northeast, and across North America, Europe, and Africa.
“Dr. Kiviat is legendary amongst Hudson Valley scientists and environmentalists as the gold standard for ethical research and the pursuit of environmental truth,” said Michelle Land of Pace University, who serves as the Environmental Consortium’s director. “This year’s award not only recognizes his life’s work, it echoes his call that knowledge must be the basis for environmental decision-making.”
“Erik Kiviat is a key contributor to our ecological understanding of the Hudson River and watershed,” said Vassar anthropology professor Lucy Johnson, Consortium chair and president of the Hudson River Environmental Society, which promotes science and science education. “His devotion to the sciences and to the region is reflected in both his professionalism and his lifelong personal commitment. He is truly a Hudson Valley treasure and a worthy recipient of the Environmental Consortium Great Work Award.”
Kiviat will be recognized by the members of the Environmental Consortium at their 11th annual conference, “The Pedagogical Pursuit of Environmental ‘Truth’: Mobilizing our Collective Expertise,” at Russell Sage College in Troy, New York, on November 8.
The Great Work Award in honor of Thomas Berry is named for Thomas Berry, whose vision for the role of the university in the planet’s environmental future inspired the formation of the Environmental Consortium in 2004. The award recognizes individuals in higher education whose work exemplifies Berry’s admonition that colleges and universities should “reorient the human community toward a greater awareness that the human exists, survives, and becomes whole only within the single great community of the planet Earth.” Previous winners include Gus Speth of Vermont Law School and Iona College’s Conveners of the Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue: Brian Brown, Kevin Cawley, Kathleen Deignan, and Daniel Martin.
The Environmental Consortium of Colleges & Universities’ mission is to harness higher education’s intellectual and physical resources to advance regional, ecosystem-based environmental research, teaching, and learning with a special emphasis on the greater Hudson-Mohawk River watershed. Spearheaded and hosted by Pace University, the Consortium’s headquarters are situated within the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies in Pleasantville, New York. For more information on The Great Work Award in honor of Thomas Berry and The Environmental Consortium of Colleges & Universities, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A lifelong resident of the Hudson Valley, Erik Kiviat has studied the plants and animals of the region for 45 years and has authored or coauthored 80 publications and 200 technical assistance reports on wetland ecology, rare species conservation, habitat ecology, introduced species, the Hudson River, and other subjects. He is the author of Biodiversity Assessment Manual for the Hudson River Estuary Corridor; and Hackensack Meadowlands, New Jersey, Biodiversity: A Review and Synthesis. A former professor of environmental studies at Bard College’s Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Kiviat has researched the habitats and populations of rare and common turtle species, and performed landscape-level management of animals with large area requirements. He has conducted studies of biota, communities, and ecosystems in tidal wetlands and other habitats of the Hudson River, and other Northeastern estuaries. He spent 14 years examining biodiversity and its management in the urban landscape of the Hackensack Meadowlands, and researched the ecology and management of invasive plants, especially long-present species such as common reed, purple loosestrife, Japanese knotweed, and water chestnut, which have both positive and negative impacts on native biodiversity and environmental services. Hudsonia’s Biodiversity Resources Center offers training to nonbiologists who make land use decisions, including town planning boards, land trust staff, and conservation commissions. It has also created detailed habitat maps and biodiversity reports covering over 400 square miles of Hudson Valley towns and watersheds. Hudsonia’s Habitat Connections Initiative has studied rare species, invasive species, forests, wetlands, streams, and the estuary, to develop scientific information for planners, conservationists, and researchers. For more information on Hudsonia, please visit http://hudsonia.org.
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