2021 ASRS Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony

The 2021 ASRS Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony took place on June 10, 2021 via Zoom.
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2021 ASRS Professional Award Winners

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William T. Plass Award

This award is the highest honor the Society has and recognizes those in research, teaching, outreach, and administration. The award is given to a person who has distinguished themselves in the field of disturbed ecosystem reclamation at the local, regional, national, and international levels.

Louis M. McDonald
Nominated by Jeff Skousen

Louis McDonald has been involved in a distinguished career in research, teaching, and practicing of mine land reclamation for over 30 years. His contributions to the field of mine land reclamation is highlighted by over 24 years of research and teaching at West Virginia University (WVU). While at WVU, he was very involved in acid mine drainage research as well as soil science and environmental chemistry work. McDonald earned his BS at California Polytechnic State University in economics, his MS at Louisiana State University in agronomy, and his PhD at the University of Kentucky at Lexington in soil science. While at the University of Kentucky, McDonald worked with Bill Evangelou, who was one of the country’s top soil scientists. Together, they published three revered journal articles and multiple abstracts and book chapters. Since then, while at WVU, McDonald published 58 peer reviewed journal articles and authored or coauthored 7 book chapters, including a chapter in “Appalachia’s Coal-Mined Landscapes,” recently released, and he has published more than 65 abstracts at international and national meetings. He has advised numerous graduate and undergraduate students while completing 28 projects with $1.5M in funding. McDonald continues to host international scientists at WVU while excelling in teaching. He continues to add new courses and majors to the curriculum and is involved in multiple advisory committees at WVU. McDonald is very active in ASRS as well as the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) and the West Virginia Mine Drainage Task Force. In 2017, he co-organized the ASRS/Task Force/ARRI conference in Morgantown, West Virginia. His list of honors and awards is long and includes the ASRS Richard I. and Lela M. Barnhisel Reclamation Researcher of the Year award in 2016. Congratulations to Louis McDonald on this well-deserved honor.

Richard I. & Lela M. Barnhisel Reclamation Researcher of the Year Award

The Richard I. and Lela M. Barnhisel Reclamation Researcher of the Year award recognizes substantial contributions to the advancement of reclamation science and technology through scientific research.

William H. Strosnider
Nominated by Natalie Kruse-Daniels

William Strosnider has shown outstanding leadership in reclamation research while focusing on acid mine drainage chemistry as well as reclamation ecosystems in the mining industries in Pennsylvania and South America. Strosnider’s education background resulted in a career in research and development, which can be highlighted by the development of the accredited environmental engineering program at St Francis University and the founding of the Center for Watershed Research and Service (CWRS). As a faculty member while directing this program at St Francis, he continued his research while mentoring many students in the reclamation sciences. Strosnider received his BS from University of Dayton, his MS from The College of Charleston, and his PhD from the University of Oklahoma. Currently, Strosnider is the director/associate research professor at the University of South Carolina’s Baruch Marine Field Laboratory. His research in acid mine drainage in Bolivia for his doctoral dissertation resulted in twelve refereed journal articles and over 20 conference proceedings and presentations alone. He has since published 23 more journal articles and added 88 conference proceedings and presentations. His outstanding research has led to a large array of honors and awards. Strosnider was selected as the ASRS ECR award winner in 2017, and his accomplishments since then have shown that he continues to contribute to the reclamation sciences field through research and development in an absolutely positive manner. Congratulations to William Strosnider on another outstanding honor for your dedication to reclamation research.

Reclamationist of the Year Award

The Reclamationist of the Year award recognizes individuals demonstrating outstanding accomplishments in the practical application or evaluation of reclamation technology. It also rewards individuals responsible for implementing innovative practices or designs for new reclamation strategies.

Joshua Sorenson
Nominated by Pete Stahl

Josh Sorenson received his BS degree from the University of Wyoming and MS degree from Texas A&M University. Josh currently works for Jonah Energy LLC as a reclamation specialist and has spent time working for the US Forest Service as a rangeland and natural resource specialist. Josh has been a significant asset during his time at Jonah Energy by developing and advancing the reclamation process of the ecosystem disturbance of over 1,900 oil and gas wellsites and associated transportation right of ways. He has implemented a management program to control invasive plant species while reducing pesticide applications and increasing native pollinator plants. This process has significantly improved the ecosystem and reduced costs to the company. This practice has helped allow for the rollover of hundreds of acres of successful reclamation back to the Bureau of Land Management for public use. Josh works closely with the regulatory and state wildlife officials in helping improve a habitat that is declining for numerous endangered wildlife and plant species. His management practices have resulted in improved reclamation that protects the environment and can be enjoyed by the landowners. Along with his busy schedule at work, Josh is involved in his local community and is often sought to share his knowledge and experience. Congratulations Josh Sorenson on this outstanding achievement and your persistence to improve a difficult ecosystem!

Early Career Award

This award is intended to recognize an early career member of ASRS that is involved in reclamation research, teaching, and/or on-the-ground reclamation practices within academics, regulatory oversite, or in an industry position. The nominee must have been employed in their field for a minimum of three years but not more than ten years.

Kenton L. Sena
Nominated by Chris Barton

Kenton Sena has started the early stages of his career with a passion to help others with their advanced learning endeavors. He obtained his BA from Ashbury University, and his MS and PhD from The University of Kentucky. He is now a revered lecturer in the Lewis Honors College at the University of Kentucky. Based on his letters of recommendations, he was strongly recommended for his teaching and research based on his work ethics and performance at University of Kentucky. His research performance has been exceptional, with over 16 journal articles, along with multiple proceeding papers and book chapters. He has been honored with a vast range of research and talent awards throughout various programs involved in forestry research, including close to $300,000 in grants and fellowships. He is very involved with the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative and the Green Forests Work program, forestry reclamation advisories, and mentoring programs. Kenton has also been a very active member of ASRS while co-chairing the Forestry and Wildlife TD and serving as an associate editor of the Journal of The American Society of Mining and Reclamation. Sena has made outstanding contributions to reclamation sciences in his early career profession while his future looks bright and promising. Congratulations and keep up the good work!

Distinction in Reclamation Award

This award recognizes a specific project in which a company has demonstrated excellence in reclamation design, implementation, and overall success, resulting in the conservation of natural resources and the ecosystem.

Teck American Inc. and Halliburton
Nominated by Mariah O’ Brien

The Magmont Mine is in Southeast Missouri in the Viburnum Trend Lead District, located in the Ozark-St. Francois mountain range. The facilities extracted lead, zinc, and copper from the mined ore. This underground mine was in operation from1968 to 1994, leaving a 24,500,000-ton tailings deposit impoundment to be mitigated starting in 1992. The Teck American Inc and joint venture partner Halliburton took on the challenge of this large-scale tailing’s impoundment reclamation mitigation with notable success. The native wildlife species did not take long to return to this reclaimed ecosystem, including amphibian and migratory waterfowl as well as raptors and larger ungulates. Sixty-six native vegetative species are now found on site, and there is minimal routine maintenance required of the self-sustaining ecosystem. In December of 2017, the site was released from regulatory oversite, which allowed the landowner to manage the property without regulatory control. The challenges were overcome, and the results show a true reflection of the practical side of “excellence in reclamation.” Congratulations to Teck American Inc. and Halliburton on this outstanding accomplishment.

ASRS Memorial Scholarships

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The memorial scholarships are awarded in commemoration of deceased ASRS members. They are granted to deserving students from universities, colleges, or community colleges that offer curricula in a scientific discipline directly related to, and leading toward, a profession in reclamation-related work.

Bachelor of Science

Hannah Curtis
Hannah Curtis, from Norman, Oklahoma, is a senior at the University of Oklahoma. She will graduate in December 2021 with a double major in environmental engineering and cello performance and a minor in environmental sustainability. Curtis currently works as an undergraduate research assistant at both the OU Center for Risk and Crisis Management and the Oklahoma Water Survey and as a writing assistant for the OU Honors College. She conducts research with the Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds, performs with the OU Symphony Orchestra, and is involved in OU’s Integrity Council. Curtis is passionate about solving water quality issues with sustainable solutions and plans to pursue a master’s degree in environmental science starting in fall 2022.

Master of Science

Brianna Slothower
Brianna Slothower is a graduate research assistant working at Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute while attending Texas A&M University–Kingsville. In 2019, Slothower received her bachelor’s degree in fire ecology and management at University of Idaho. Her current project is evaluating the establishment of native grasses with an annual cover crop on a recently installed pipeline in south Texas. Upon completion of her master’s degree in range and wildlife management, Slothower would like to pursue a career in research and restoration. When she is not at work, Slothower enjoys exploring with her husband, collecting plants, and tending to her pet cat and lizard.

Doctor of Philosophy

Brandon Holzbauer-Sweitzer
Brandon Holzbauer-Sweitzer received his undergraduate degree in environmental geoscience from Winona State University in 2014. He then moved to Oklahoma and completed two environmental science graduate degrees. His master's work focused on using low-impact development best management practices as alternatives to traditional urban stormwater management. During his doctoral program, which he completed in May 2021, his work centered on using drones and spectral data to evaluate and predict surface water quality in passive treatment systems. He hopes to continue this work in a more applied setting when he starts a position with Linkan Engineering in June 2021. In his free time, Holzbauer-Sweitzer enjoys cooking, being outdoors, and relaxing with his wife, two dogs, and cat. Holzbauer-Sweitzer is thrilled to be awarded the ASRS scholarship at the PhD level and hopes to continue participating in and presenting at in-person meetings for years to come.