Jacob wins AgriLife Extension Superior Service Award

COLLEGE STATION — Dr. John Jacob’s approach to integrating research, outreach and education to address coastal resource conservation and sustainable development issues has earned him the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s 2012 Superior Service Award in the specialist category.

Jacob has joint appointments with Texas A&M AgriLife and the Texas Sea Grant College Program as coastal community development specialist and as professor of recreation, park and tourism sciences at Texas A&M University.

The annual Superior Service Awards recognize AgriLife Extension personnel who provide outstanding performance in Extension education or in service to the organization.

“Dr. Jacob’s inspirational leadership, brilliant innovation and entrepreneurial talent has established him as a model faculty member,” said Dr. Gary Ellis, recreation, park and tourism sciences department head. “He has built an innovative, cutting-edge and virtually self-sustaining program that embodies the kind of successful urban programming that Extension needs more of in the future. His work is a splendid example of how the Extension model can be adapted to a much broader urban audience that we have hitherto reached.”

Ellis mentioned the Texas Coastal Watershed Program, which provides education and outreach to local governments and citizens on the impacts of land use on watershed health and water quality.

Jacob created the Houston-based watershed program 15 years ago and has received grants from both traditional and non-traditional funding sources to build the program from a one-man operation into a multi-discipline team comprising seven full-time staff and three graduate student interns.

The nomination cited one particular coastal watershed team effort led by Jacob.

“Because of his direct involvement in state and regional wetland issues, Dr. Jacob was well aware of a lack of data that would clarify how freshwater wetlands protected water quality in estuaries such as Galveston Bay,” Ellis wrote. “Dr. Jacob engaged his research team to address this issue. The research was published in the premier scientific journal on wetlands. Dr. Jacob subsequently produced an accessible fact sheet that became an invaluable resource to scientists and decision makers throughout the region. The results of the research are under review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and promise to have a major impact on how wetlands are regulated.”

Jacob’s body of work integrating conservation and sustainable community development also earned him the 2012 Terry Hershey Award for Excellence from the department of recreation, park and tourism sciences at Texas A&M.

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