Donna Shaver Recognized for Heroic Work in Saving Sea Turtles

Natural Resource Awards honor accomplishments in six categories: Excellence in Natural Resource Stewardship, Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resource Stewardship, Natural Resource Management, Professional Excellence in Natural Resources, Excellence in Natural Resource Research, and the Trish Patterson Student Conservation Association Award for Natural Resource Management in a Small Park.

These awards recognize employees who go above and beyond in performance of their duties. This year's winners were nominated by employees from across the National Park Service, by the people who watched their day-to-day efforts to preserve landscapes for our enjoyment today and in the future. The people who made these nominations singled out remarkable achievers for this special recognition.

Excellence in Natural Resource Research
Donna J. Shaver, chief,
Division of the Sea Turtle Science and Recovery
Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

Shaver has dedicated her life to ensuring the future of the endangered Kemp's ridley and other sea turtles at Padre Island National Seashore, in the United States, and in Mexico. For more than three decades, she has led an acclaimed sea turtle program that integrates conservation, pioneering research, and public education activities.

Her efforts to restore the Kemp's ridley population and form a secondary nesting colony at Padre Island have received widespread public attention and support. She provides training, leadership, and reporting for the detection, documentation, and conservation of nesting sea turtles, sea turtle nests, and stranded sea turtles in Texas. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, she served as the principle investigator on the natural resources damage assessment team to determine potential injury to the Kemp's ridley population. Shaver's collaborative work with other biologists and researchers in the U.S. and Mexico has enhanced Padre Island's program and expanded it beyond park boundaries.