Outstanding Achievement Award Recipients

Outstanding Achievement Award

Established: 1978
Design: Personalized certificate with the SWG seal.

This honor is awarded to a member who has made an outstanding contribution or service of lasting benefit to science, the arts, or humanity.



2022 Anne Firth Murray 
For dedicated her career to taking actions to benefit the rights of women around the world.

2017 Carol Horvitz 
For long-time contribution to mathematical ecology.

2011 Mary Crowley
For identifying and bringing to the public’s attention the floating island of plastic in the North Pacific Gyre.

2011 Helen Kennedy
For specializing in the fast-disappearing plant family Marantaceae (prayer plants) and introducing them for cultivation.

2011 Elizabeth White
For spearheading the heroic rescue of a fellow climber on Makalu II and for fostering the understanding of the Islamic world aid to women in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

2008 Janice Monk
For her work as a feminist geographer and mentor to many students and geographers throughout her nearly forty years in academia, research on gender and ethnic themes in Australia, the Caribbean and at the U.S. & Mexico border, and for her cross-cultural projects looking at women and their relationship with the land. She has conducted research also on international developments in feminist geography, on the history of women in professional geography, and in geographic education.

2008 Elizabeth C. Titus Putnam
For her work as a conservation educator, and for founding of the Student Conservation Program and the Student Conservation Association, which annually places about 3,000 participants to help in national parks and other public and private lands to preserve and protect our nation•••s natural resources.

2008 Martha H. Talbot
For her work as an international ecologist and conservationist, and for pioneering field ecological research in a number of countries on four continents. Marty has worked in the field in Asia and Africa since 1959 and has numerous publications on wildlife, ecology, research techniques and conservation. She and her husband have worked as advisors to African & Asian governments on conservation, parks and protected areas. She is a co-founder of the Student Conservation Association.

2005 Mary Upjohn Meader
For her pioneering aerial photography in the 1930s.

2005 Alison Spence Brooks
For pursuing the theory that human development occurred in Africa much earlier than once believed. She bolstered this theory by developing new dating techniques for materials too old for radiocarbon methods, using fossilized ostrich eggs.

2002 Louise Emmons
For 30 years of work on the ecology of tropical and neotropical rainforests and for her highly praised and respected field guide to the mammalian fauna of neotropical rainforests.

2002 Carol A. Meyer
For 20 years of work as an archaeologist specializing in sites in the Middle East, particularly Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, most especially the settlement site of Bir Umm Fawakhir in Eastern Desert of Egypt.

2002 Edith M. "Jackie" Ronne
For a lifetime of living on, studying about, lecturing on, and writing about the continent of Antarctic, as the first American woman to set foot and over-winter there. Ronne Ice Shelf, the world's 2nd largest, is named for her.

1999 Patricia Ann Woolley
For significant discoveries made as world's foremost authority on marsupial mice of Australia and New Guinea.

1996 Cecilia Doak
For pioneering work and making a major contribution to science and humankind by teaching health workers to talk to patients with low literacy skills so that they understand medical information.

1996 Beth McKnight
For founding an organization dedicated to fostering conservation throughout the world, sponsoring expeditions to retrace earlier explorations in an historical context, and documenting the precariousness of wilderness and nature.

1996 Katharine Fowler Billings
For contributions to geological science, especially in Sierra Leone and as a pioneer in conservation and environmental protection.

1996 Marie Tharp
For expertise in cartography and oceanography and discovering the Rift Valley of the Mid Atlantic Ridge through analysis of depth soundings.

1993 Patricia Anawalt
For pioneering a method for reconstructing the past through evidence that exists in both pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican and present-day Central Mexican cloth and clothing, and contributing to the study of costume evolution.

1993 Elisabeth Booz
For work in southwestern China as the first Western professor at Yunnan University, writing four textbooks as she taught English; and for travels in, and writing the first guidebook about, Tibet.

1993 Helen Cruickshank
For a career as a writer, wildlife photographer, conservationist, lecturer, and leader of ecology/wildlife workshops and photographic safaris.

1993 Ruth Robertson
For her career of many "firsts" in photojournalism, including first woman to photograph football games from the 50 yard line at Northwestern and Notre Dame, the only woman photographer in the press pool at the both 1944 Democratic and Republican national conventions, leading the first expedition into Venezuela to photograph Angel Falls, and the only woman correspondent in Alaska during WWII.

1990 Jeanne M. Gurnee
For expertise in speleology and exploration and conservation of caves, with special work in Puerto Rico and Barbados.

1990 Clara Egli LeGear
For founding the Geography and Map Division of the Special Libraries Association, her expertise in historical cartography, and indexing an eight volume "List of Geographical Atlases" for the Library of Congress

1990 Helen Margaret Wallis
For expertise on history as shown through maps, atlases, and globes, and as Head Map Librarian with the British Map Library, fostering cooperative exchanges, exhibits, and geographic societies.

1990 Laura Nader
For expertise in law in preliterate societies, especially the Zapotec Indians of Oaxaco, Mexico, and contributions to the understanding of the anthropological aspects of legal and social change.

1987 Nancy Hatch Dupree
For writing and lectures on research and travel in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

1987 Mary LeCron Foster
For field work and publications on the linguistic and social anthropology of certain peoples of Mexico.

1987 Jeannette Mirsky
For writings on historical geography and history of Arctic exploration, and history of exploration of Central Asia and China.

1987 Margaret E. Murie
For pioneering work in the environmental movement.

1987 Marvin Breckinridge Patterson
For her insightful writings; photographs of Africa, the Caribbean, and Appalachia; broadcasts; and contributions to many causes, especially historic preservation, as well as her service as chair of the Frontier Nursing Service.

1984 Jocelyn Crane Griffin
For contributions to zoology, ichthyology, and ecology, and for deepwater descent in bathysphere.

1984 Mary Slusser
For anthropological research in Vietnam and Laos, and directing a film on tribes of Laos, in primitive areas, as well as archaeological research of lost cities and neglected ancient shrines, sculptures, and art objects in Nepal.

1981 Gloria Hollister Anable
For expeditions to British Guiana jungle, and deep-water records set in bathysphere in Bermuda.

1981 Elizabeth Colson
For anthropology achievements, as recognized authority on American Indian society and on the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa.

1981 Frances Kelsey
For scientific investigation of the drug thalidomide that prevented its distribution in the U.S., avoiding major birth deformities.

1981 Evelyn Pruitt
For pioneering the field of remote sensing, used to interpret the earth's surface and sub-surface, and developing the field of coastal geography with attention on environments of world coasts.

1978 Elisabeth Shirley Enochs
For raising the standards of child and maternal health and nutrition throughout the world, improving institutions housing orphans and abandoned children in Latin America.

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