Hood Canal Heroes to Be Honored - Laurie Usher

Hood Canal Heroes to Be Honored


Reprinted from Kitsap Sun

By Christopher Dunagan, cdunagan@kitsapsun.com

November 27, 2005

Link to original article


Laurie Usher, Dr. Arpad Masley and Jan Newton are this year's recipients of the Hood Canal Environmental Achievement Awards.


The awards are presented each year by the Hood Canal Coordinating Council to those who have contributed the most to preserving and protecting the Hood Canal ecosystem.


Laurie Usher was instrumental in launching the Hood Canal Youth Summit, which involved more than 150 students from around Hood Canal, according to Sue Texeira of the coordinating council. The 2005 summit, which could be the first of many, provided students a chance to share their water-quality research, creative artistry and photographs. Usher identified funding and managed a grant from the Washington Department of Ecology.


Usher has been an environmental educator for years, working as a water-quality field agent in Mason County before starting her own program called ENVIRO-ED. She has worked as a public-involvement coordinator for Puget Sound Action Team and as a photography instructor at Olympic College.


Dr. Arpad Masley, a retired surgeon, started working on a native plant garden at Theler Wetlands in Belfair nearly 10 years ago. At first, the blackberry-covered site contained compacted fill that could only be worked with pick-axes. Masley and volunteers transplanted native vegetation from his own property and from sites destined for construction. Today, the Theler Native Plant Demonstration Garden is a lush, two-acre attraction recognized in national publications for its beauty and design, Texeira said.


Masley, a Mason County Master Gardener, shares his vast knowledge and appreciation for Northwest plants, birds, fish and wildlife.


Jan Newton, a University of Washington oceanographer, studied Hood Canal for 10 years before becoming the principal investigator for the multi-million-dollar Hood Canal Dissolved Oxygen Program. Her extensive research on the low-oxygen problem and her tireless efforts to educate lawmakers, volunteers and many others has raised awareness about the growing dangers for sealife.


Newton currently works at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory, where she is coordinating research on Hood Canal, including the development of a computer model designed to simulate low-oxygen conditions and identify potential solutions. She has remained a key presenter at most conferences dealing with Hood Canal, including an annual presentation before the Hood Canal Coordinating Council.


Usher, Masley and Newton will receive their awards Friday during a ceremony at Alderbrook Resort and Spa in Union, where state Rep. Bill Eickmeyer, D-Belfair, will receive a special award. Eickmeyer, chairman of the House Select Committee on Hood Canal, has been a key player in coordinating funding and management programs to protect and restore Hood Canal.


Powered by SmugMug Log In