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1997 Wisconsin Idea Award Recipients Honored

Four people were honored recently for applying the “Wisconsin Idea” to natural resource policy development and implementation. Anthony Earl, partner in the Quarles & Brady Law Firm in Madison; Alan Haney, dean, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Nicholas Neher, administrator of the Agricultural Resource Management Division at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; and Caryl Terrell, legislative liaison for the Sierra Club received the Wisconsin Idea Award in Natural Resource Policy at a banquet on March 4 at Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

The Wisconsin Idea Award in Natural Resource Policy is presented annually by the School of Natural Resources in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the UW-Madison. The award honors those who have made significant contributions in the area of natural resource policy and whose efforts exemplify the “Wisconsin Idea” of communication and cooperation between the university and government for the benefit of the people of the state.

Anthony Earl began his public service career in 1965 as assistant district attorney in Marathon County, Wisconsin. Between 1966 and 1980 he was city attorney for Wausau, member of the Wisconsin State Legislature, secretary of the Department of Administration, and secretary of the Department of Natural Resources. From 1983 to 1986 Earl served as governor of Wisconsin. He currently is a partner in the Quarles & Brady Law Firm.

Over his distinguished public-service career, Earl has demonstrated his dedication to strong linkages between the university and state, in particular in the area of natural resources and the environment. Examples of his efforts include his leadership in implementing a state-of-the-art cleanup of the Lower Fox and Upper Wisconsin Rivers; his support for groundwater management in the state; his support for area-wide planning for natural resource management; and his support for funding of groundwater research activities of the university, the DNR, and DATCP.

During his tenure as secretary of the DNR, Earl nurtured cooperative research with the UW-Madison to develop innovations in natural resource policy, such as the creation of a mechanism to allow effluent discharge trades among paper mills and municipal dischargers, and devising a new concept whereby permissible discharges were determined by the ability of the environment to absorb them.

For his leadership, his willingness to consider new ideas, his skills in communication and diplomacy, his fostering university-state cooperation, and for his consideration and wisdom regarding the environmental and economic effects on all sectors of the state, Earl is an exemplary recipient of the Wisconsin Idea Award.

Alan Haney”s career has emphasized the extension of practical and useful education to those people who are on the front lines of land stewardship. Haney, currently dean of the College of Natural Resources and Professor of Forestry at the UW-Stevens Point, has an outstanding ability to communicate important information to a diverse audience as well as to stimulate the formation of working partnerships among disparate groups.

Examples of his abilities are many. He is principal investigator for Sand County Foundation”s “Legacy” Oak Savanna Research and Restoration program at seven sites in Wisconsin and Illinois. He works with the Sand County Foundation to extend the Leopold Land Ethic and adaptive management by public and private land managers. Haney”s work with the U.S. Forest Service”s biodiversity roundtable addresses how national forests in Wisconsin can be more appropriately managed. He routinely consults with and offers workshops for both public and private agencies, including the DNR, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Woodland Owner”s Association.

As dean of UW-Stevens Point”s College of Natural Resources, Haney provides inspired leadership to both faculty and students in natural resources fields. The capable professionals who graduate from the college, in turn, make significant contributions to the Wisconsin Idea through their work.

Exemplary leader, committed teacher, and successful natural resources professional, Haney is a worthy recipient of the Wisconsin Idea Award in Natural Resource Policy.

Nicholas Neher has consistently fostered close relationships DATCP and the UW to develop innovative and effective public policy related to agriculture. Neher is currently administrator of the Agricultural Resource Management Division. He has also served DATCP as director of the Groundwater and Regulatory Services Section, along with two earlier positions within DATCP.

For more than a decade Neher has helped develop and implement policy in a remarkably diverse array of areas concerned with agricultural and natural resource issues. His close working relationship with the UW has been the key to formulating innovative policy solutions to critical issues.

As examples, Neher provided leadership to determine atrazine contamination areas in Wisconsin and established a management strategy to correct the problem. This was accomplished through personal staff interaction and the creation of a technical advisory committee of which university staff made up over half of the membership. Other cooperative efforts with the UW include developing storage standards for agricultural chemicals to prevent environmental contamination, establishing a statewide remediation program for agricultural chemical spills to minimize environmental damage, and creating a unique approach to protect endangered species from pesticides. With input from an advisory committee, Neher established an agricultural shoreland management program and model ordinance; and he currently serves as a board member of the newly formed Wisconsin Environmental Initiative whose purpose is to bring diverse groups together in a collaborative, non-contentious form to facilitate solutions to contemporary regional environmental issues.

Neher uses to full advantage his personal and professional leadership skills as a means to create effective natural resource policy.

Caryl Terrell has effectively influenced the development, enactment and preservation of progressive natural resource policy in Wisconsin for over two decades. Terrell is currently the legislative liaison for the statewide chapter of the Sierra Club. She is also a member of the Board of Visitors for UW-Madison”s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and recently completed her term as a member of the UW”s Council on Integrated Agriculture. Terrell serves on a number of state and City of Madison committees and boards, including the State Emergency Response Board, Madison Plan Commission and the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage Commission. The League of Women Voters has benefited from Terrell”s expertise for a number of years.

Terrell”s involvement with the university and state and local governments has given her insight into the interrelationships among these entities. She is remarkably able to maintain that fine line between being an “insider,” knowledgeable about how government works, and an effective “outsider,” prodding the university and government where needed to better protect our environment.

Terrell has also been involved with DATCP, serving on its Ad Hoc Committee on Atrazine, Food Safety Task Force, and other committees. As a past member of DATCP”s Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee, she helped establish an innovative funding partnership between farmers and the UW. Many UW students have benefited from Terrell”s mentoring through student internships, classroom speaking engagements and campus-sponsored workshops.

Terrell is a tireless and persistent advocate of protecting Wisconsin”s natural resources and the Wisconsin Idea.