Carl E. Zipper, associate professor and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist for crop and soil environmental sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has received Virginia Tech’s 2012 Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence.
Established by the university's Commission on Outreach and International Affairs with the support of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence is presented annually to recognize outstanding contributions by Virginia Tech faculty members who have extended the university's outreach mission throughout the commonwealth, the nation, and the world. Recipients are nominated by their peers, receive a $2,000 cash prize, and are inducted into the university's Academy of Outreach Excellence.
A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1986, Zipper has worked to apply and extend scientific concepts to improve environmental restoration and management in coal-mining areas. His outreach and applied research are conducted cooperatively with the coal-mining industry, agencies that regulate coal mining, other organizations in the Appalachian coalfields, and faculty from several disciplines. Much of his outreach is through the Power River Project (PRP), for which he serves as director.
As PRP director, Zipper communicates regularly with the coal-mining industry and agencies to understand essential needs. He works with Virginia Tech faculty to develop programs that address those concerns. In addition, he supervises the PRP’s Research and Education Center, a 1,100-acre facility that hosts outreach education programs for industry, agencies, and other parties interested in mine restoration methods.
Zipper’s outreach has had a wide range of benefits. Through the PRP, he serves people in the Appalachian coalfields and industry by helping protect the environment in a cost-effective manner. His research and outreach supports industry and agency efforts to limit acid mine drainage and water salinity problems associated with mining. He has also been active in research and outreach for minded areas’ conversion to forested ecosystems similar to those that occur naturally throughout the region. Additionally, he has provided leadership of outreach to investigate potential impacts by mining and other land uses on endangered species in the Clinch and Powell Rivers.
“Carl is a consummate professional whose dedication to improving environmental restoration and management in coal-mining regions has had lasting beneficial impacts,” said Thomas L. Thompson, professor and head of the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences. “In addition, his contributions have resulted in educated students, solid peer-reviewed research, and outreach that is improving the lives of Virginians.”
Zipper is a prolific scientist, having participated in more than 200 professional publications, and he and his graduate students have delivered more than 200 presentations at industry, agency, and scientific meetings. He has authored or co-authored a number of peer-reviewed journal articles and outreach publications.
Zipper earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.
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