Vic Claassen is Honored for His Outstanding Contributions
Summer 2017 Ecesis, Volume 27, Issue 2
Vic Claassen was the recipient of the 2017 President’s Award at SERCAL’s 24th Annual Conference in Davis, California. The President’s Award is presented annually to a member of the restoration community in recognition of their contributions to the field of habitat restoration in California. In other words, someone outstanding in the field of restoration. Vic Claassen is not only outstanding in the restoration field, he is often — and at his best —out standing in a field practicing and teaching restoration.
Vic is a Research Soil Scientist in UC Davis’ Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources. He obtained a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Bethel College, Kansas, and a M.S. in Biology from Wichita State University. Vic traveled west from the plains of Kansas to the plains of the Great Central Valley where he earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in Soil Science from UC Davis.
Vic’s passion — for research in the science of wildlands soil fertility, revegetation of drastically disturbed soils, advancements in the use of endomycorrhizae, and the benefits of soil organic matter — have earned him the admiration and respect of his colleagues, peers, clients, and students, as attested in these excerpts from the award ceremony introduction prepared by Vic’s former student and long-time friend, Michael Hogan of Integrated Environmental Restoration Services in Tahoe City:
“I worked with Vic over the years. I got my graduate degree under him, and I will say it was some of the most interesting and fruitful years of my life, not just from what I learned but largely from just getting to hang out with this guy… “He has worked to improve not just the theoretical but our working knowledge of the world around us… “…and while he’s been working on all of that, he also makes the people around him just a little better, a little fuller with his presence, his generous and genuine nature.”
Vic has been a long-time member and supporter of SERCAL, CNGA, and other organizations, and has generously given his time to these organizations and their memberships in the form of technical presentations and training seminars, in fielding technical project-specific questions, and in performing live music with the Simpletones at many a SERCAL conference.
Following the band’s performance at the 2017 conference, I commented to Vic that I admired his laidback style while playing guitar (he was literally leaning against the wall for most of the sets). I’ll always remember the response which I’ll now loosely relay. Vic told me that he’d once heard an interview with an old blues musician, who, when asked why he sat through his performances and didn’t jump and dance around like some other performers, answered that he worked all day because he had a real job, but music was a passion and so he was going to enjoy it. For those of you who have the pleasure to know Vic, this story says it all. — by Harry Oakes
John Anderson Receives SERCAL’s First-Ever Lifetime Achievement Award
John Anderson recently retired from farming to devote his time to travel, visiting grandchildren, and his “retirement project:” restoring a 700-acre ranch located in the hills behind Hedgerow Farms. He and Marsha will continue to live in their home on the farm.
John has a degree in zoology from Oregon State and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from UC Davis. He practiced small-animal medicine for several years before joining the veterinary staff at the California Primate Research Center at the University of California, Davis.
Starting in the early 1980s, John began planting grasses, shrubs and trees on his farm near Winters to establish wildlife habitat, and realized there were very few native seeds available for habitat restoration work. He retired from UC Davis in the mid-1990s and began farming California grasses. John figured out how to establish stands of native grasses and forbs, and has been sharing this knowledge in lectures, workshops, and tours of the farm, which also serves as a teaching and demonstration resource for farmland conservation practices and wildlife habitat restoration in the region. John has served on a number of conservation-related boards and is a founding member of the California Native Grasslands Association. He has also served on the boards of the National Audubon Society and Audubon California, the Yolo Basin Foundation, the Wild Farm Alliance, and is a past director of the Yolo County Resource Conservation District. He has received numerous awards for his visionary work. “John Anderson has been, and continues to be, someone that is not only implementing conservation practices on his land, but has energy and drive, and has been innovating in the field of habitat restoration and conservation efforts in an agricultural setting. If you talk about conservation work in California’s Central Valley, the conversation will not last five minutes before John’s name comes up,” says friend and colleague Chris Rose, director of the Solano RCD. Countless conservationists of all ages have been inspired by John’s enthusiasm for restoration (and weed control), determination to get things done, and knowledge of the natural world. We cannot thank him enough for his many years of work to create a healthier natural world. — by Patrick Reynolds
Past honorees include:
2016: Truckee River Watershed Council and Michael Hogan, Integrated Environmental Restoration Services, presented by Dave Shaw at the SERCAL Conference in North Tahoe
2015: Shara Fisler, Executive Director and Founder of Ocean Discovery Institute, presented by Pete Tomsovic at the SERCAL Conference in San Diego
2014: Susan Clark, SERCAL Admin Director, presented by Kevin MacKay at the SERCAL Conference in Santa Rosa
2013: Bob Thiel, State Coastal Conservancy, presented by Matt James at the SERCAL Conference in Santa Barbara
2012: Rich Marovich, Putah Creek Streamkeeper of Solano County Water Agency, presented by Andrew Fulks at the SERCAL Conference in Davis
2011: Mike Kelly, Michael Kelly & Associates, presented by Mark Tucker at the SERCAL Conference in San Diego
2010: Andrea Mead Lawrence, Memorial tribute presented by Michael Hogan at the SERCAL Conference in Mammoth Lake