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Benton H. Box Award

The Benton H. Box Award was awarded to Kelly Bricker, Ph.D. and John W. Day, Jr., Ph.D.for recognition as teachers who by precept and example inspire in students the quest for knowledge and encourage curriculum innovation to inculcate an “environmental ethic” as the rule of conduct.

  • Kelly Bricker Ph.D., Ph.D.
    Benton H. Box Award Recipient
    Kelly Bricker, Ph.D.
  • John W. Day, Jr., Ph.D.
    Benton H. Box Award Recipient
    John W. Day Jr., Ph.D.

The Award is named in appreciation of Dr. Box's distinguished career as an educator/administrator, especially as Dean of the College of Forest and Recreation Resources at Clemson University, which he led to national and international recognition for academic excellence and for leadership in fostering private innovation in resource management. The Award recognizes the teacher who by precept and example inspires in students the quest for knowledge; or the administrator who fosters a learning environment and encourages curriculum innovation to inculcate an "environmental ethic" as the rule of conduct involving resource management, development and utilization; or the private practitioner whose management over a sustained period demonstrates leadership in preserving, enhancing, renewing and restoring a livable environment.

Kelly S. Bricker, Ph.D.

Over the past four decades, Dr. Bricker has served a variety of professional organizations and associations that focus on preserving and conserving natural resources while also providing quality outdoor recreation and visitor experiences. Before entering higher education, Dr. Bricker spent 20+ years serving public land management agencies (NPS Interpreter, BLM River Ranger), environmental education organizations (Atwood Outdoor Education Center, British Virgin Islands marine sailing and scuba program, Florida Keys marine sciences program); and nature-based recreation (OARS River Guide, scuba and sailing instructor) and tourism companies (SOBEK Guide Nepal & Indonesia, World Heritage Travel Group, Vice Pres. and guide global programs)-all of which were formative to the work she engages in today.

With her husband, they started an ecotourism program focused on river conservation and community well-being called Rivers Fiji—located in the Republic of Fiji. With the collaboration of local communities, they were able to conserve 28 kilometers of wetlands and pristine river habitat in the highlands of Fiji, in concert with traditional and subsistence uses by local communities. Through interdisciplinary collaboration and community outreach, they established the country’s first conservation area of its kind and Fiji’s first internationally designated Ramsar site, or Wetland of International Importance. This effort and other early practitioner-based experiences contributed to her life's work in higher education. All have included conservation work and her belief that the health of natural resources is absolutely foundational to the health and well-being of society.

Dr. Bricker’s research program focuses primarily on nature-based recreation and tourism endeavors as tools for conservation and their role in sustainable management and development of protected areas and nearby communities. Examples of this work include research conducted in Yellowstone National Park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Fiji, among many others. This work has elucidated how sustainable tourism and recreation endeavors can effect positive change for protected areas, people and the economic structures which support poverty reduction and increased quality of life, especially in natural amenity communities. 

Dr. Bricker’s research also investigates the effectiveness of different land management actions/policies for mitigating visitation impacts to natural resource areas. This work has included nationwide research on managers’ perspectives of recreation and tourism on public lands and evaluating statewide sustainable tourism certification programs as a management tool for minimizing environmental impacts caused by recreation. The results of this research have assisted planners and managers in understanding the sustainability and effectiveness of outdoor recreation management strategies and policy formation in protected areas. 

Dr. Bricker’s program of research is closely tied to her service work with international organizations focused on sustainable tourism development and management (e.g., the Global Sustainable Tourism Council [GSTC]) and utilizing tourism as a tool for conservation, with the Tourism and Protected Area Specialists, within the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. Service to these organizations has positively enhanced both her research program and her teaching. In sum, from her early professional beginnings with the United States' National Park Service as an Interpreter, to her current role as Department Chair, Dr. Bricker has dedicated her life to enhancing humankinds relationship with the natural environment, and assisting individuals in finding ways to ignite their passions and realize their dreams.

Read the release announcing Dr. Bricker's win. 

John W. Day, Jr., Ph.D. 

John W. Day, Jr. is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast & Environment at Louisiana State University, where he has taught since 1971. He has published extensively on the ecology and management of coastal and wetland ecosystems, with emphasis on the Mississippi delta and deltas worldwide. He is editor of Estuarine Ecology 2013; editor of Ecological Modeling in Theory and Practice; editor of the Ecology of Coastal Ecosystems in the Southern Mexico: The Terminos Lagoon Region; co-editor of Ecosystem Based Management of the Gulf of Mexico; editor of Perspectives on the Restoration of the Mississippi Delta (2014); author of Americas Most Sustainable Cities and Regions – Surviving the 21st Century Megatrends (2016), editor of Mississippi Delta Restoration – Pathways to a Sustainable Future; and co-editor of Coasts and Estuaries – The Future (2019)

Professor Day received his Ph.D. in marine sciences and environmental sciences from the University of North Carolina in 1971 working with the noted ecologist Dr. H.T. Odum. Since then, he has conducted extensive research on the ecology and management of the Mississippi Delta and for the last 40 years, has studied coastal ecosystems in Mexico. He was a visiting professor in the Institute of Marine Sciences of the National University of Mexico in 1978-1979, at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands during 1986, at the Laboratoire d'Ecologie, Université Claude Bernard in Arles France during 1992-93, and in the Department of Geography at Cambridge University in 2000-2001. He has also worked at the University of Campeche and the Institute of Ecology in Xalapa, Mexico. From 1992-2017, Professor Day worked in the Mediterranean studying the impacts of climate change on wetlands in Venice Lagoon and in the Po, Rhone and Ebro deltas.  He has worked on using wetlands as a means of removing nitrogen from the Mississippi River. Dr. Day served as a member of the hypoxia reassessment taskforce. 

He is currently involved in research on the impacts of 21st century megatrends on sustainability of natural and human systems. He served as chair of the National Technical Review Committee, reviewing the restoration program for the Mississippi delta and is currently active in delta restoration as chair of the Science and Engineering Special Team on restoration of the Mississippi delta. He serves on the Scientific Steering Committee of the Future Earth Coasts program, an international coastal science effort. He served on a National Research Council panel on urban sustainability. He was recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for study in France, the Estuarine Research Federation Cronin Award for excellence in teaching in coastal sciences, and the National Wetlands Award. He has served as major professor for 70 M.S. and Ph.D. students and has written and edited 17 books and monographs, and published over 400 peer-reviewed articles. His work has been cited over 25,000 times.

Read the release announcing Dr. Day's win.