Pioneering ecologist Ruth Patrick honored by Federal-State Commission

The Academy of Natural Sciences' world-renowned environmental scientist Ruth Patrick was honored by the Delaware River Basin Commission when it named its to-be-developed office building courtyard the "Ruth Patrick River Garden."

"Dr. Ruth Patrick's outstanding career with The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia has spanned seven decades and her work has set the standard for how the environmental health of rivers and streams is evaluated," DRBC Chairman Kevin C. Donnelly said. Donnelly, who represents Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner on the federal-interstate commission, added, "We are thrilled to have Dr. Patrick join us today as we recognize her extensive contributions to riverine science and management."

At a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at its headquarters in West Trenton, N.J., the commission also released a concept design plan to improve the courtyard. "This design plan, which was shaped by comments received from DRBC staff, highlights the Delaware River Basin Commission and will provide an opportunity for visitors to enjoy the space while learning about the watershed environment," DRBC Executive Director Carol R. Collier said. "Naming this planned courtyard makeover the 'Ruth Patrick River Garden' is a fitting tribute to a pioneer whose work in the Delaware River Basin dates back to 1945."

Dr. Patrick in the 1940s developed a new scientific method to assess the health of freshwater systems (lakes, streams, and rivers) involving the study of changes in abundance and diversity of plants, animals, and bacteria as a way to measure the impact of pollution and natural changes. She was one of only a handful of female ecologists at the time and her method is still used today.

Born in Kansas, she has lived and worked in the Delaware River Basin her entire professional career. Dr. Patrick has been associated with The Academy of Natural Sciences since 1933 and continues to spend time in her office there every day. In 1947,

Contact: Carolyn Belardo
The Academy of Natural Sciences

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