Renewable Natural 

Resources Foundation



RNRF conducts national conferences, congressional forums, public-policy briefings and round tables, international outreach activities, and a national awards program. 


The Foundation has three annual awards to recognize outstanding achievements in the renewable resources fields. Two of the awards—established in 1992—were the first awards to honor interdisciplinary achievements with an emphasis on the application of sound scientific practices in managing and conserving renewable natural resources.

The Sustained Achievement Award recognizes a long-term contribution and commitment to the protection and conservation of natural resources by an individual.

The Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes a project, publication, piece of legislation, or similar concrete accomplishment that occurred during the three years prior to nomination for the award. (An individual cannot receive this award.)

RNRF's Excellence in Journalism Award, established in 2001, honors and encourages excellence in print journalism about natural resources. RNRF seeks to advance public education and understanding of important natural resource issues through the dissemination of accurate and scientifically-based information about the environment. The award recognizes work by an individual, group, or organization for print media (such as an on-line report, or article/feature in a newspaper, magazine, journal, or newsletter).

RNRF also awards a Chairman's Award for professional service to the foundation.

Call for 2017 awards nominations

RNRF is now accepting nominations for the 2017 awards program. Click here for more information.

Nominations due June 2, 2017.


1992 - Gilbert F. White, Boulder, Colorado
1993 - Marion Clawson, Washington, District of Columbia
1994 - E. William Anderson, Lake Oswego, Oregon
1995 - William E. Larson, St. Paul, Minnesota
1996 - William M. Lewis Jr., Boulder, Colorado
1997 - William B. Stapp, Ann Arbor, Michigan
1998 - Jane Lubchenco, Corvallis, Oregon
1999 - Jack Ward Thomas, Missoula, Montana
2000 - William J. Carroll, Pasadena, California
2001 - John Cairns Jr., Blacksburg, Virginia
2002 - Edward O. Wilson, Cambridge, Massachusetts
2003 - Michael P. Dombeck, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
2004 - L. Pete Heard, Madison, Mississippi
2005 - V. Phillip Rasmussen Jr., Logan, Utah
2006 - Heidi Margrit McAllister, Silver Spring, Maryland
2007 - Cecil Lue-Hing, Burr Ridge, Illinois
2008 - William Matuszeski, Washington, District of Columbia
2009 - Frank H. Wadsworth, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
2010 - William H. Schlesinger, Millbrook, New York
2011 - Richard B. Alley, University Park, Pennsylvania
2012 - Frederick R. Steiner, Austin, Texas
2013 - Albert Arnold "Al" Gore Jr, Nashville, Tennessee
2014 - Lynn Scarlett, Arlington, Virginia
2015 - Gerald E. Galloway Jr, College Park, Maryland
2016 - Alexander E. MacDonald, Boulder, Colorado

Alexander E. MacDonald is Recipient of 2016 Sustained Achievement Award

Alexander E. MacDonald received RNRF's 2016 Sustained Achievement Award. The award recognizes a long-term contribution and commitment to the protection and conservation of natural resources by an individual.

Over the course of a 40-year career with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), MacDonald has made numerous and significant contributions to atmospheric science and monitoring. During the past decade he has served as director of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), the heart of the global greenhouse monitoring network. He provided leadership to enhance the quality and breadth of greenhouse gas monitoring data, and fostering the participation of many ESRL scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He invented Science on a Sphere, an environmental education display system now used in more than 150 museums and science centers around the globe.

MacDonald served in leadership roles in several scientific organizations, including a year as president of the American Meteorological Society where he led the theme of Earth System Science. He led a team of six NOAA scientists who produced a paper published in Nature Climate Change showing that creation of a U.S. High Voltage Direct Current transmission network would facilitate much greater use of wind and solar energy resulting in greatly reduced greenhouse emissions from the U.S. power sector.

In addition to his recent work, MacDonald worked for a year (1993-1994) with Vice President Al Gore to launch the Globe Program. He was instrumental in the development of the information system of the U.S. National Weather Service, AWIPS, which has been saving hundreds of lives every year since its implementation in 2000.

MacDonald is currently Director, Global Validation Model for Spire Global, Inc.

He holds B.S. in Mathematics/Physics from Montana State University, a M.S. in Meteorology from the University of Utah, and a Ph.D. in Meteorology (Minor in Computer Science) from the University of Utah.

The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the RNRF Board of Directors on November 2, 2016, in Potomac, Maryland.


1992 - Water Resources Education Initiative (accepted by a consortium of nonprofits and federal agencies)
1993 - Illinois Rivers Project (accepted by Illinois River Project, Inc.)
1994 - Continental Conservation Plan (accepted by Ducks Unlimited)
1995 - Manatee Messages Educational Video (accepted by Save the Manatee Club)
1996 - Florida Marine Spill Analysis System (accepted by Florida Department of Environmental Protection)
1997 - Bruneau River Elk Management National Demonstration Area (accepted by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)
1998 - New Jersey Shore Cleanup Initiative (accepted by a public/private partnership)
1999 - Guest River Restoration Project (accepted by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service)
2000 - Snow Goose/Arctic Ecosystem Education Initiative (accepted by Ducks Unlimited)
2001 - Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes, and Practices (accepted by NRCS on behalf of a consortium of federal agencies including ARS, CSREES, USFS, EPA, TVA, FEMA, NOAA/NMFS, USACE, HUD, BLM, BOR, FWS, NPS, USGS/BRD/WRD)
2002 - Natural Resources Leadership Course for Extension Agents (accepted by Cooperative Extension at Texas A&M University)
2003 - Seafood Lover's Almanac (accepted by National Audubon Society)
2004 - The State of the Nation's Ecosystems: Measuring the Lands, Waters, and Living Resources of the United States (accepted by The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment)
2005 - Life at the Water's Edge: A Shoreline Resident's Guide to Natural Lakeshore and Streamside Buffers for Water Quality Protection (accepted by Cooperative Extension at Clemson University)
2006 - Putting Communities in Charge: A Progress Report on an Educational Support System for Local Land Use Decision Makers (accepted by the Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) program of Cooperative Extension at the University of Connecticut)
2007 - National Coastal Assessment (accepted by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Gulf Ecology Division)
2008 - Integrated Ecosystem Restoration and Hurricane Protection: Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast (accepted by Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Governor's Office of Coastal Activities)
2009 - Dig It! The Secrets of Soil, an exhibition in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History
2010 - Michigan's Water Withdrawal Assessment Process (accepted by Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment)
2011 - LEED for Neighborhood Development (accepted by U.S Green Building Council in partnership with the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council)
2012 - Changing Planet (accepted by NBC Learn/NBC News in partnership with the National Science Foundation and Discover magazine)
2013 - Chasing Ice (accepted by Jeff Orlowski, director, producer and cinematographer)
2014 - Sustainability: Water (accepted by NBC Learn in partnership with the National Science Foundation)
2015 - Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (accepted by U.S. Forest Service)
2016 - The National Disaster Resilience Competition (to be accepted by U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Rockefeller Foundation as a collaborator)

The National Disaster Resilience Competition is Recipient of 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award

The National Disaster Resilience Competition received RNRF's 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award. The NDRC is one of the most catalytic and innovative competitions in recent history at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is spurring a nationwide shift in how states and communities consider future climate risks as part of their disaster recovery efforts. The effort required applicants to apply sound scientific practices to develop methods to both protect property and the community's environmental resources. The effort involved 30 federal agencies, leveraged $2.5 billion, and developed 220 partnerships.

To this end, HUD, in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation, provided significant resources and support to communities to help them become more resilient. The NDRC was a two-phase process that competitively awarded nearly $1 billion in HUD Disaster Recovery funds to eligible communities. The competition helped communities recover from prior disasters and improve their ability to withstand and recover more quickly from future disasters, hazards, and shocks. The competition and its unique programmatic requirements led to the direct engagement of nearly 30 federal agencies; the development of more than $7 billion in requested projects; $2.7 billion in pledged direct leverage and an additional $2.5 billion of supporting leverage by applicants; 220 newly-formed partnerships; and significant long-term state and local commitments to resilience in the form of legislative actions, stronger building standards, plan updates and alignments, and new financing and economic initiatives.

State award winners are: California, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Virginia. City and county winners are: New York City; New Orleans; Minot, North Dakota; Shelby County, Tennessee; and Springfield, Massachusetts.

The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the RNRF Board of Directors on November 2, 2016, in Potomac, Maryland.

For more information about NDRC click here.


2001 - Bay Journal, Karl Blankenship, editor; Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, publisher
2002 - "Georgia's Disappearing Songbirds" by Charles Seabrook, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
2003 - "Our Troubled Sound" by a team of reporters led by Robert McClure, Lisa Stiffler, and Lise Olsen, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
2004 - "Toxic Air: Lingering Health Menace" by Jim Bruggers, The Courier-Journal  (Louisville, Kentucky)
2005 - "Invaded Waters" by Tom Meersman, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
2006 - "Crude Awakening" by a team of reporters, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio)
2007 - Platte River Odyssey, the magazine, produced by College of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
2008 - "Fueling Iowa's Future: Biofuels" by a team of reporters, The Des Moines Register
2009 - "Invasive Species of Oregon," Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon)
2010 - The Chesapeake Watershed: A Sense of Place and a Call to Action, a book by Ned Tillman
2011 - Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children Ages 3-7, produced by Council for Environmental Education
2012 - "Reversing 300 years of damage / A movement is under way to purge the trash, bacteria and pollution that have long infected the city's heart" by Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun
2013 - Dirty, Sacred Rivers: Confronting South Asia's Water Crisis, a book by Cheryl Colopy
2014 - "Mahogany's Last Stand" by Scott Wallace, freelance writer, published in National Geographic Magazine
2015 - "Louisiana Loses Its Boot" by Brett Anderson, freelance writer, published on Medium
2016 - The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age, a book by David S. Abraham

The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age is Recipient of 2016 Excellence in Journalism Award 

The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age is the recipient of RNRF's 2016 Excellence in Journalism Award. The book shows how global politics, economic stability, and climate security are tied to an industry veiled in secrecy.

Author David S. Abraham demonstrates the critical importance of rare metals to our technology-driven lifestyle. He traces the secret paths of these elements -- from the hills of China to the frozen Gulf of Finland to our livings rooms -- providing vivid accounts of those who produce, trade, and use rare metals. Abraham examines the environmental, economic and geopolitical consequences of our resource dependence. He argues that rate metals increasingly play a significant role in global affairs, conferring strength to those countries and companies that can ensure sustainable supplies for themselves.

Abraham argues that just as oil, iron, and bronze revolutionized previous eras, rare metals are transforming our world. He calls for greater transparency and scrutiny to minimize the potential for conflict and to ensure sustainable supplies of these critical materials. The challenges this book outline and the plans it proposes for addressing them raise fundamental considerations for our rare metal age.

David S. Abraham is a natural resource strategist who currently directs the Technology, Rare and Electronics Materials Center. His writing has appeared in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the RNRF Board of Directors on November 2, 2016, in Potomac, Maryland.

For more information go to


2001 - Albert A. Grant, Public Interest Member of RNRF Board of Directors, Potomac, Maryland
2002 - John S. Dickey Jr., American Geophysical Union, Washington, District of Columbia
2003 - John Marvin Jones II, JM Jones & Associates LLC, McLean, Virginia; Robert H. Metz, Linowes and Blocher LLP, Bethesda, Maryland; and
Larry E. Walker, The Walker Group LLC, Bethesda, Maryland
2004 - A.F. Spilhaus Jr., American Geophysical Union, Washington, District of Columbia
2005 - Howard N. Rosen, Society of Wood Science and Technology, Silver Spring, Maryland; and David L. Trauger, College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech, Falls Church, Virginia
2006 - Sarah Gerould, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Reston, Virginia
2007 - Enos K. Fry, Provident Bank, Gaithersburg, Maryland
2008 - Enos K. Fry, Provident Bank, Gaithersburg, Maryland; Robert H. Metz, Linowes and Blocher LLP, Bethesda, Maryland; John Marvin Jones II, JM Jones & Associates LLC, McLean, Virginia; and Larry E. Walker, The Walker Group LLC, Bethesda, Maryland
2010 - Sarah Gerould, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Reston, Virginia
2013 - Ann Cairns, American Geophysical Union, Washington, District of Columbia
2014 - Charles B. Chesnutt, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources, Alexandria, Virginia
2015 - Nancy C. Somerville, American Society of Landscape Architects, Washington, District of Columbia
2016 - Doug Parker, California Institute for Water Resources, University of California - Agriculture and Natural Resources, Oakland, California

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