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 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 online report, or article/feature in a newspaper, magazine, journal, or newsletter).

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

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

A call for nominations will be posted here in January 2020.


The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development's Regional Program on Transboundary Landscapes IS RECIPIENT OF 2018 OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 

icimodThe International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development's (ICIMOD) Regional Program on Transboundary Landscapes is the recipient of RNRF's 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award. This award recognizes a project, publication, piece of legislation, or similar concrete accomplishment in the natural resources field.

Since 2013, ICIMOD's Transboundary Landscapes program has been advocating the use of the landscape approach, which delineates areas based on shared ecosystems instead of administrative boundaries, for managing biodiversity. By facilitating cooperation based on individual ownership of shared ecosystems between countries, the landscape approach fosters multi-stakeholder dialogue and analysis.

ICIMOD's Transboundary Landscapes program focuses on the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) area, which supports over 1.9 billion people. An ecological buffer zone, the HKH is also home to four global biodiversity hotspots. The effects of climate change and natural resource degradation have acute transboundary impacts in the HKH. Poverty, outmigration, and globalization are significant regional challenges that countries can collectively address across geographical borders. For this, an operational system that enables countries to collaborate at bilateral and multilateral levels is necessary.

Through partnerships with over 55 government and non-government institutions, ICIMOD's transboundary landscape program is implementing four initiatives in parts of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. Its efforts have helped build a regional constituency for sustainable mountain development while enhancing impact and technical outreach, and improving the quality of knowledge produced through associated scientific studies.

The program has demonstrated that inter-country frameworks on ecosystem and cultural services, and long-term environmental and socio-ecological monitoring can be implemented despite geopolitical sensitivities. Its initiatives have developed common vegetation and cultural maps, invasive species and ecosystem management guidelines, and influenced national policy through cross-learning—Nepal's ratification of the Nagoya Protocol is one example. Its role in 'biodiversity diplomacy' provides platforms for countries to come together even though inter-country aspirations are often complex and sensitive. As a policy engagement platform it brings the public and private sectors together. The evidence from ICIMOD's transboundary program informs high-level decision making, ultimately benefiting local-level stakeholders across participating countries

More information about the program can be found here:

Integrating Conservation and Development in Transboundary Landscapes: Looking Back to Move Forward (Working Paper)
Integrated Ecosystem Management in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (Working Paper)
Advancing Regional and Transboundary Cooperation in the Conflict-Prone Hindu Kush–Himalaya (Article)


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 - Draft National Coastal Assessment (accepted by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Gulf Ecology Division) The draft assessment was nominated in January 2007 in anticipation that the final assessment would be released early in 2007. When the George W Bush Administration decided not to post or publicly release the draft or final assessment in a timely fashion, the RNRF Jury selected the draft assessment to receive the award. The final assessment was released in December 2008.
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 USDA Forest Service)
2016 - The National Disaster Resilience Competition (accepted by U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Rockefeller Foundation as a collaborator)
2017 - USA National Phenology Network's Start of Spring Maps and Access Tools (accepted by the USA National Phenology Network)
2018 - Regional Program on Transboundary Landscapes (accepted by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development)


Saving America's Broken Prairie is Recipient of 2018 Excellence in Journalism Award

 "praireSaving America's Broken Prairie" by freelance journalist David J. Unger of Chicago, Illinois is the recipient of RNRF's 2018 Excellence in Journalism Award. The award honors and encourages excellence in print journalism about natural resources, part of RNRF's goal to advance public education and understanding of important natural resources issues through the dissemination of accurate and scientifically-based information about the environment.

In "Saving America's Broken Prairie," Unger sought to find if we can maintain the capacity to feed billions of people while preserving the land that makes it all possible. To answer this question, Unger went to North Dakota to see what he thought was the region's defining story: The shale oil boom and bust that has reshaped the heartland's economy and upended energy geopolitics everywhere. It turned out that oil is just one part of a great transformation now underway in North America's Great Plains and Central Lowlands, the likes of which has not been seen since the Dust Bowl. A biome that can be every bit as diverse and complex as a rainforest sits in the country’s backyard and it's coming undone.

Unger pulls together a comprehensive and compelling profile of an imperiled ecosystem, and leaves readers with a road map of what it might take to save it.

The case study was published in Undark, a digital magazine published by the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

To read the case study, visit:


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, 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, 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, by David S. Abraham
2017 - Anthropocene, the magazine, Colorado Global Hub of Future Earth
2018 - "Saving America's Broken Prairie" by David J. Unger, freelance journalist, published in Undark 


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
2017 - Rattan Lal, Columbus, Ohio


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
2017 - Gerald "Stinger" Guala, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia
2018 - Leslie A.C. Weldon, U.S. Forest Service, Washington, District of Columbia; and
          Robert D. Day, Renewable Natural Resources Foundation, North Bethesda, Maryland                                                                                         

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