Eric Hutchins
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Teri Frady
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April 22, 2005

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NMFS Northeast Regional Office

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NOAA Recognizes
Robert “Stubby” Knowles
as 2005 Environmental Hero

Gloucester, MA -- The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has named Robert “Stubby” Knowles of Gloucester, Massachusetts as a 2005 Environmental Hero. The award will be presented to the Knowles family on May 2, at a ceremonial ground-breaking by federal, state, and local officials at the Dun Fudgin Intertidal Habitat Restoration Project that was championed by Knowles before his untimely death in November 2004, at the age of 71.

Knowles family and government officials break ground at the Dun Fudgin Intertidal Habitat Restoration Project on May 2. The project was championed by Robert “Stubby” Knowles, who received a posthumous 2004 Environmental Hero Award for his efforts during the groundbreaking ceremony. Left to right, Paul Diodati, Director, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries; Peter Shelley, Conservation Law Foundation; Massachusetts State Senator Bruce Tarr, Donna Knowles (Stubby’s daughter); Massachusetts State Representative Anthony Verga; NOAA/NMFS Northeast Regional Administrator Patricia Kurkul, Gloucester Mayor John Bell. NMFS/NERO NMFS/NER Photo by Marla Trollan
Knowles was Gloucester's shellfish warden for more than 33 years, and widely considered the patriarch of coastal wetland protection and restoration throughout the area. Knowles maintained fish ladders that allow fish to reach upstream spawning grounds, provided important technical reviews and recommendations for projects that would affect coastal resources, and spent time leading and educating school groups and citizens in order to foster greater stewardship of coastal resources.

“NOAA and the nation are fortunate to have dedicated people such as Mr. Knowles who volunteer so much of their time,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, of the award. “He set a perfect example for others to follow in their communities. America needs more environmental heroes like Stubby Knowles.”

Established in 1995 to commemorate the 26th anniversary of Earth Day, the Environmental Hero award is presented to individuals and organizations that volunteer their time and energy to help NOAA carry out its mission. Similar Environmental Hero awards will be presented to 31 other individuals and three organizations this year from across the United States and around the world.

The Dun Fudgin Intertidal Habitat Restoration Project was just one of many projects to restore tidal wetlands, shellfish, and migratory fish habitat in which Knowles was involved. “Stubby Knowles constantly exceeded community expectations for environmental stewardship. We all benefited from his watchful concerns and very hard work,” said Gloucester Mayor John Bell.

Speakers presently scheduled for the May 2 event include Patricia Kurkul, NOAA Fisheries Service Northeast regional administrator; Gloucester Mayor John Bell; Paul Diodati, director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries; State Representative Anthony Verga; State Senator Bruce Tarr; and Peter Shelley of the Conservation Law Foundation.

Visit the NOAA Earth Day Web site at to read more about this year's award winners.

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through research to better understand atmospheric and climate variability and to manage wisely our nation's coastal and marine resources.

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