Loyola University New Orleans Environment Professor Named Among Nation’s “Wetland Heroes”
Renowned environmentalist and chair of Environmental Communication at Loyola University New Orleans Dr. Robert A. “Bob” Thomas is recognized this month with an important national environmental award that spotlights the impact of his reach and teaching.
The nation’s top “Wetland Heroes” were honored by the Environmental Law Institute on May 7, at the 30th Annual National Wetlands Awards, held in Washington, D.C. Six environmentalists, all of whom have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the conservation and restoration of our nation’s wetlands, were honored for their individual achievements in six categories —Thomas won the Education and Outreach Award. ELI President Scott Fulton said Thomas and his peers are an international inspiration “on the forefront of protecting wetland resources in the face of development and climate impacts.”
At Loyola, Thomas holds the Loyola Distinguished Scholar Chair in Environmental Communication. A biologist and journalist by trade, he is a professor of mass communication and an adjunct professor of Biological Sciences. He is the Founding Director of the Center for Environmental Communication at Loyola – one of a few such centers in the nation - and is a crucial member of the university’s popular Environment program.
Whether he’s advising on the impact of oil spills, recycling Christmas trees to mitigate coastal erosion, taking students on “frog walks” in the wilderness or discovery trips to Belize, leading citizen science projects in New Orleans City Park or researching snakes of the Galapagos and South America, Thomas uses his skills as a journalist and biologist to explain complicated scientific issues in simple terms and inspire both a love of the environment – and crucial partnerships.
Together, he and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Aimée Thomas are about to usher in Loyola Academy at Mirabeau Water Garden – a grant-funded project supported by the city, in which Loyola students and faculty will train students, teachers and residents about stormwater management at the FEMA-sponsored water garden in Mid-City.