MISSOULA – A local conservation organization recently recognized the conservation and environmental contributions two University of Montana professors have made to the greater Missoula community.
The Missoula Conservation Roundtable presented two of its annual awards to UM environmental studies Professor Neva Hassanein and biology Professor Erick Greene at a recent ceremony. Hassanein received the Don Aldrich Award, named in memory of the pioneering Montana conservationist whose efforts from the 1960s through 1990s helped pave the way for the conservation and environmental movements that continue today. The award is presented to an individual based on his or her longtime contributions to the conservation of natural resources and environmental protection.
According to her nomination, Hassanein has strategically used her research and organizing skills to nurture a powerful local movement to protect Montana farmland and increase local food security and sustainability. She established sustainable food and farming as an emphasis in UM’s environmental studies curriculum, and she helped build the University’s Farm to College program, a campus-community partnership for local food, into a nationally recognized, award-winning program.
Hassanein, her students and groups she works with have had a hand in revitalizing farmers markets and other local markets, increasing large institutional purchasers’ use of local foods, supporting the regional growers’ cooperative and developing farmer education programs. She’s helped the UM community envision how local food systems can be more sustainable, secure and democratic, and has worked strategically with others to create a replicable model.
Greene received the Arnold Bolle Award, which was established in 1981 in honor of Bolle, a former faculty member in the UM College of Forestry and Conservation whose life was a demonstration of a personal commitment to conservation. The Bolle Center for People and Forests at UM is named for him, and the Arnold Bolle Award is a lifetime achievement award presented to a professional in natural resource management or environmental protection.
Greene’s nomination describes how he has played an integral role in UM’s Montana Osprey Project, which has educated thousands across the globe about osprey behavior, ecology and the challenges they face. Greene’s work has contributed to the long-term understanding of how mercury in the environment affects osprey. Bolle served as a friend and mentor to Greene when he first began his tenure at UM.
“In addition to Arnold Bolle being a wonderful mentor and friend, we shared great interests together in birds, conservation and music,” Greene said. “A large part of my research now involves a lot of the ‘music’ of the natural world, and I attribute that in part to Arnold’s influence.”