Donation of wetlands to UA honored with national award


Steve, left, and Jerry Panzner are seen here in the midst of the Panzner Wetland Wildlife Reserve the family donated to The University of Akron as a living laboratory.

Copley brothers Steve and Jerry Panzner received one of the seven prestigious National Wetlands Awards — the Education and Outreach Award — for their donation of their 104.67 acres of restored wetlands to The University of Akron in 2012 to be used for wetlands education, research and outreach. The award, given by the Environmental Law Institute, was announced April 16.
The Panzners, both UA alumni, describe the property as a "living laboratory" committed to promoting understanding and research of Ohio's wetland environments. It has been used by hundreds of UA students and faculty in integrated bioscience, biology, chemistry and other disciplines.
"We always believed in education when we first started," Steve Panzner says. "It was one of the major components of our mission statement. Education is what keeps the wetlands functioning."
The National Wetlands Awards program is administered by the Environmental Law Institute and supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Federal Highway Administration and USDA Forest Service.
"Wetlands are part of the foundation of our nation's water resources and are vital to the health of waterways and communities that are downstream," says EPA acting Assistant Administrator for Water Nancy Stoner, in a press release. "The extraordinary actions of National Wetlands Awards winners past and present provide continued inspiration in our efforts to protect and restore our nation's wetlands. The EPA commends the winners for their incredible work."
The 2013 National Wetlands Awards recipients will be honored at a May 9 ceremony at the United States Botanic Garden in Wash., D.C.

 Story by Nicholas Nussen

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