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NOROCK Scientist Receives USGS Award for Lifetime Achievement in Science Communications

Research Ecologist Dan Fagre is the recipient of the 2017 Eugene M. Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communications
(Public domain.)

In 2017, USGS Research Ecologist Dan Fagre received his 30-year pin and Length of Service certificate from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Particular recognition was given for his “communication skills and scientific and technical contributions to understanding interactions between climate, ecosystem function and snow-glacier dynamics in Glacier National Park and across Western North America.”

This recognition has followed Fagre into 2018 with his recent selection as the 2017 U.S. Geological Survey’s Shoemaker Lifetime Achievement award recipient. The Eugene M. Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communications is presented annually to a USGS scientist who creates excitement and enthusiasm for science among non-scientists using effective communication skills. 

“Dan’s unfaltering ability to eloquently communicate the complexities of his research to a myriad of audiences illustrates his dedication not only to his research, but also to ensuring that the public understands mountain ecosystem change and the implications of those changes for communities worldwide,” said Claudia Regan, the center director for the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK) where Fagre works.

Fagre began his Interior Department career in 1988 with the National Park Service, joining the National Biological Survey in the early 90’s and eventually the USGS in the Biological Resources Division in the late 90’s.  Fagre is stationed at the USGS NOROCK Glacier Field Station in Glacier National Park, Montana.

“An award given to an individual is nearly always a reflection of a team effort,” said Fagre. “I’ve been honored to work with a stellar group of talented colleagues that share my passion for communicating the adventure and social relevance of science and the daily delight I take in being a scientist.”

Since 1997, Dan has participated in over 700 outreach events including congressional tours and media events such as documentaries, radio broadcasts, magazines, contemporary non-fiction, television, and news print. He is recognized by his colleagues for his extraordinary skills and success in communicating complex scientific concepts in an understandable and compelling way, making science accessible to everyone.

Dan Fagre on Sperry Glacier Sperry Glacier, 08/23/15, in Glacier National Park.
Dan Fagre on Sperry Glacier Sperry Glacier, 08/23/15, in Glacier National Park.(Credit: Lisa McKeon, USGS. Public domain.)

A colleague who provided a letter of support for Fagre’s nomination wrote, “Whether he is delivering a technical talk at a scientific meeting, addressing a group of resource-managers, or leading public field trips in his beloved Glacier National Park, Dan has a magician's capacity for inspired teaching.”

Fagre is the director of the Climate Change in Mountain Ecosystems Project and lead investigator in the USGS Benchmark Glacier Program.  He has collaborated with other scientists around the world on diverse research projects that address glaciers, avalanches, amphibians, alpine plants, paleoclimates, snow chemistry and ecosystem dynamics of bioregions, among others.  He is currently active in the Western Mountain Initiative, a program to coordinate mountain research across different areas; GLORIA, a global program to monitor alpine vegetation on mountain summits on six continents; and CIRMOUNT, a consortium of mountain scientists. He has presented his work in countries all over the world including Argentina, Australia, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Columbia, Austria and France. 

Fagre received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, has been a faculty affiliate at six different universities and mentored or sponsored many graduate students, published three books and 170-plus scientific publications, and co-founded several national and international science networks. 

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