2021 Great Lakes Leadership Award Winners

The Great Lakes Protection Fund named Allegra Cangelosi a recipient of a 2021 Great Lakes Leadership Award in recognition of her efforts to protect the health of the Great Lakes Basin and the people who live in the region. She is one of six individuals the fund is recognizing for their trailblazing efforts on behalf of the Great Lakes.

A researcher at Penn State Behrend in Erie, Pennsylvania, and former president of the Northwest-Midwest Institute in Washington, D.C., Cangelosi pioneered the field of ballast treatment technology, which, with other management approaches, allows the shipping industry to limit the transfer of invasive species into the Great Lakes. Her contributions have helped reduce the introduction of new invasive species into the Great Lakes by more than 90 percent.

Other winners of the 2021 Great Lakes Leadership Award are:

  • Rob Collier, who created the first-ever network of community foundation environmental programs in Great Lakes coastal cities, which launched a national movement of similar efforts.
  • Crystal M.C. Davis, who is reorienting environmentalism in the Great Lakes region to focus on the needs of the people who live there, such as fair and equitable access to clean drinking water and the removal of toxins from the lakes and surrounding waterways.
  • Eric Letsinger, who has led the field of impact finance in the environmental space by using innovative performance-based funding vehicles such as environmental impact bonds and green bonds, thereby creating a new way for Great Lakes communities to finance green infrastructure and improve water quality. 
  • David M. Lodge, who is known as the “CSI Great Lakes Guy” for developing genetic testing tools to prevent invasive species from reaching the Great Lakes. He also created forensic tests and other tools to stop the spread of existing invaders.
  • Sherri A. Mason, Ph.D., who has elevated the awareness of, and action to stop, microplastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Her efforts prompted major companies to change their production process and led the Food and Drug Administration to ban plastic microbeads in face creams and shampoos. 

See videos of the winners here.

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