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June 9, 2015

Poulson recognized for decades of Great Lakes environmental journalism

The International Association for Great Lakes Research has recognized David Poulson, the senior associate director of Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, for a career-long dedication to inform and educate the public and policymakers on Great Lakes issues.

The IAGLR board of directors recognized him with the John R. (Jack) Vallentyne award given for contributing substantially to education and outreach in the Great Lakes community for at least 20 years and with an impact beyond the awardee’s local community. The award recognizes people who bridge the gap between the science community and the public. Recipients can be engaged with any great lake in the world, including the North American Great Lakes and the African Great Lakes.

“I always figured that environmental science is far too important, far too interesting and way too much fun to leave only to scientists, researchers and policymakers,” Poulson said. “I’m honored to receive this award and also pleased that the association recognizes journalism as critical to engaging the public with the environmental challenges of the world.”

Poulson, a 1982 graduate of MSU’s School of Journalism, is also editor of Great Lakes Echo, the Knight Center’s award-winning regional online environmental news service. At MSU, Poulson teaches environmental journalism, using tools as diverse as drones, satellite imagery, geographic information systems, experiential learning and nontraditional reporting techniques. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Poulson received the award at the IAGLR’s recent 58th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research at the University of Vermont. Christine Manninen, the communications director for the Great Lakes Commission and a graduate of the Knight Center’s masters program, presented it.

“Dave is well respected by his colleagues and his contributions are highly valued by those in the Great Lakes science and policy communities,” Manninen said.

Poulson has created three online Great Lakes environmental news services. The first one, the Great Lakes Environmental Wire was launched in 1995. The second, Great Lakes Wiki, received national recognition in 2007 with a Knight-Batten Journalism Award for innovations in journalism. The current one, Great Lakes Echo, was recognized in 2011 with a Great Laker Award for excellence in environmental reporting from the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. Great Lakes Echo is a resource and research site for nontraditional environmental reporting, a teaching tool and a significant contributor of original Great Lakes reporting online and in publications throughout the basin.

“I’m a great admirer of Dave Poulson, his work with students and professionals, and his forward-thinking approach to environmental journalism,” Lester Graham, formerly the senior editor of The Environment Report/Great Lakes Radio Consortium and now an investigative reporter with Michigan Radio, wrote in supporting the nomination. “He has taught and trained students to become the new journalistic voice for science and the environment, which will benefit the public for decades to come.”

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