Stroud Water Research Center is pleased to congratulate Bernard W. Sweeney, Ph.D., on becoming a Society for Freshwater Science Fellow in recognition of sustained excellence in advancing freshwater science research, policy, and management related to stream and river ecosystems.
Sweeney is a distinguished research scientist emeritus at the Stroud Center and served from 1988 to 2017 as the second executive director and president in its more than 50-year history. During that time, he also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
He continues to serve as vice president of Asociación Centro de Investigación Stroud and co-chairman of the Society for Freshwater Science’s Taxonomic Certification Program.
Sweeney began his career at the Stroud Center, initially part of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, working with founding scientist Ruth Patrick, Ph.D., and its first Executive Director, Robin Vannote, Ph.D., to revolutionize scientific understanding of how freshwater streams and rivers function and how to protect them.
Under his leadership, the Stroud Center became the only independent nonprofit, nonadvocacy research institution focused solely on the study of freshwater ecosystems in the world. He notably added environmental education and watershed restoration to the Stroud Center’s activities and mission, guided by the groundbreaking science for which it had become so highly esteemed.
His own research has yielded key discoveries about monitoring water quality, the role of streamside forests in the health of freshwater ecosystems, methods for increasing the survival of trees planted in riparian zones, the effects of global warming on stream ecosystems, DNA barcoding of freshwater insects, and more.
For his achievements in conservation science and education, he has received numerous awards:
- 2013 Forest Champion Award from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
- 2010 Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Freshwater Science.
- 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
- 2006 Margaret Douglas National Medal from the Garden Club of America.
- 2003 National Award of Excellence in Conservation from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Executive Director David Arscott, Ph.D., says, “Bern Sweeney is one of the greatest minds in freshwater ecology not only because of his scientific research prowess but also because of his strategic vision for how to bring science down from the ivory tower and apply it in the ways that are needed most — from developing a more environmentally literate public to informing practices and policies affecting water quality at local, state, and national levels — he has made freshwater science relevant and positioned the Stroud Center to help solve the global water crisis. We are and will forever be grateful for his contributions in protecting our most precious natural resource: fresh water.”