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Odum Award for Ecological Engineering Excellence

The Odum Award is the highest honor bestowed by AEES, named in recognition for two of the most influential figures in defining and pioneering the concepts and practices of Ecological Engineering, Howard T. and Eugene Odum. This award recognizes a lifetime of achievement and contributions during their career to research, education, and practice in the field of Ecological Engineering, which led to the development and growth of AEES. To learn more about the Odum Legacy, visit The Chesapeake Research Consortium's website.

2024 Application Process

Intent to Nominate Form - Deadline to submit form is January 12, 2024. Once you receive confirmation, then you should begin assembling the nomination package.

Submission of Nomination Package - Deadline to submit package is February 23, 2024

Nomination Package must include:

  1. Completed award application form

  2. Nomination letter (2-page maximum, see below)

  3. At least two additional supporting letters (2-page maximum)

  4. Candidate’s resume/CV (no page limit) 

Items 2-4 of the nomination package must be compiled as a single PDF file by the nominator and submitted to Mike Burchell, Chair of the Membership and Awards Committee via email ( by February 23, 2024. Each nomination must be from a current AEES member.

Nomination Letter:

  • The nomination letter shall be no more than 2 pages in length. 

  • The letter should address the following:

    • A statement summarizing outstanding accomplishments within the profession and the AEES

    • Seminal contributions to the field of research or practice and the geographic extent of these contributions, and any adoption of these contributions by practitioners

    • Improvements to human and ecosystem well-being resulting from contributions of the nominee, and any associated economic impact

    • Contribution to the development of curriculum, teaching, and outreach as related to Ecological Engineering

    • Describe professional awards received

    • List notable contributions to AEES (development of the society, offices held, committee membership, conferences hosted, journals developed, etc.)

    • Describe any other contributions (advisory committees, civic awards, community involvement, etc.) the selection committee should consider not previously mentioned

Criteria for Selection

  1. Impact of the nominee's contributions and dedication to the spirit of Ecological Engineering and AEES core values through the development of fundamental principles, enhancement of knowledge from research, development of innovative practices, and dissemination of that knowledge through teaching and outreach.

  2. Sustained contributions to AEES and synergistic activities with other professional societies.

  3. Other relevant contributions shall be considered at the discretion of the Award Committee.


The award will be presented at the 2024 Annual AEES Meeting in Blacksburg, VA. With the award comes an engraved trophy and free registration to future annual meetings.  

Nominees are eligible for 3 years,  If you submitted a nomination package last year (2023) it will be considered in 2024 and 2025 and you do not need to complete the Intent to Nominate Form. Nominations from last year will be reviewed as is, but if you want to update a nomination package from last year, please email Mike Burchell directly at

Questions about the Odum Award Process?

Michael Burchell

Membership and Award Commitee Chair



Dr. Patrick Kangas

Dr. Patrick Kangas is a systems ecologist with interests in ecological engineering, tropical sustainable development and general ecology. He received his B.S. degree from Kent State University in Biology, his M.S. from the University of Oklahoma in Botany and Ecology and his Ph.D. degree in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida. After graduating from Florida, Dr. Kangas took a position in the Biology Department of Eastern Michigan University and taught there for 11 years. In 1990 he moved to the University of Maryland where he served on the faculty of the Environmental Science and Technology Department until his retirement in 2021. He has published more than 50 papers and book chapters on a variety of environmental subjects, including two books: Ecological Engineering: Principles and Practices in 2004 and A History of Radioecology in 2022.


In terms of Ecological Engineering Dr. Kangas has conducted research on constructed wetlands, living machines, rain gardens and mostly recently on algal ecotechnologies including algal turf          



Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland

AEES President, 2006-2007

scrubbers and rope culture of seaweeds. He has served on the editorial board of the journals Ecological Engineering and Solutions and served as President of the American Ecological Engineering Society in 2006-2007.


Dr. Marty Matlock

Dr. Marty Matlock is a Professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at the University of Arkansas. He served as Senior Advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at USDA from 2021-2022 focusing on food systems resiliency. Prior to that he was Executive Director of the University of Arkansas Resiliency Center which addresses food, water, and community resiliency in response to climate change. Matlock was elected to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Board of Agricultural and Natural Resources in 2021.

Matlock received his Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering from Oklahoma State University, and is a registered professional engineer, a Board-Certified Environmental Engineer, and a Certified Ecosystem Designer. His research focuses on the impacts of humans on the environment, working at the watershed scale. He has developed indicators of nutrient enrichment in rivers and streams, an index for ecosystem services change, and sustainability metrics for water, land, energy, and climate change for agricultural systems. He is a global leader in crop and animal production modeling and life cycle assessment, focusing on greenhouse gas emissions. Matlock has advised more than 40 M.S. and a dozen Ph.D. students over the past 25 years. He has co-authored more than 80 peer reviewed manuscripts and five books. Matlock holds four U.S. patents and authored the ASABE/ANSI S629 Standard for Sustainable Agriculture.



Professor, University of Arkansas

AEES President, 2007-2008


Matlock is the recipient of the 2018 CAST-Borlaug Agriculture Communications Award, the American Ecological Engineering Society 2022 Odum Award, and more than 30 national and international design awards. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation, where he served as Chairman of the Cherokee Nation Environmental Protection Commission for 16 years. He is a sustainability science advisor for three environmental conservation organizations and more than a dozen food and agricultural product companies.


Dr. Alex Horne

Dr. Alex Horne’s childhood was in devastated northern England following WW2. Rivers were fishless, colored with waste dyes, and coated with detergent foam. Thick, yellow smog and acid rain dissolved church limestone walls. Coal mine tip leachates killed even sticklebacks in small streams. His hobby of butterfly observations vanished as pesticide use spread in the 1950s. No wonder he wanted to fix Nature! An undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Bristol University (England) lead to graduate research at Westfield College (University of London, England) & Dundee University (Scotland), pioneering the in-situ use of stable and radioisotopes in phycology, limnology, and oceanography in 5 continents. He served as a professor for 32 years in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley (1971-2003). Initially hired just after the first Earth Day he was the nearest Engineering got to an ecologist. Horne taught Ecology and Management of lakes, reservoirs, ocean, rivers, and of course, wetlands. Including extension courses he taught about 5,000 students and guided 23 doctorate and many masters students. His lectures (sometimes with guitar and wetland songs) received an award from the Student’s Union as one of the things not to miss while at Berkeley. 

He has written over 360 publications and reports including a popular textbook, Limnology (includes wetlands). He has designed over 12,000 acres of constructed treatment wetlands all over the world, pioneering the concept of contaminant treatment married to wildlife habitat and human aesthetics. He has developed new restoration methods for surface waters including pure oxygen injection to reduce nutrients and algae. He has continued over the 20 years since retirement as a consultant which has resulted in 88 more publications, 100,000 more adult Chinook salmon in California rivers,


Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

AEES President, 2004-2005

800 more Least Bell’s Vireos in a southern California wetland, and more black-faced spoonbills in coastal China.

He was also an early President of the California Lake Management Society and committee member and reviewer for many societies and journals. His rock band, Mo’ Waters, founded 43 years ago, plays environmental “fix it” songs when needed. His autobiography “A Wet Life” nears completion. He thanks everyone who has helped him make a successful career. Even more than Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”



Dr. Mark Brown

Professor Emeritus, University of Florida

AEES President, 2003-2004

Dr. Mark Brown is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Engineering Sciences and Director of the Center for Environmental Policy at the University of Florida.  He was director of the Howard T. Odum Center for Wetlands from 2006-2016 and was a past vice-president and president of the American Ecological Engineering Society. He is a systems ecologist, whose research focuses on systems ecology, wetlands ecology, ecological engineering and energy analysis.

While his early career research focused on wetland ecology and management and ecological engineering, during later phases of his career his attention turned to applied and theoretical approaches to understanding the energy, ecology, and economics nexus. He has been responsible for over 75 funded research projects that resulted in nearly 300 peer reviewed publications, research reports, book chapters and books on ecological engineering, wetlands ecology, restoration ecology, emergy analysis, and life cycle assessment.

From 1986-1993 he was consulting ecologist for the Cousteau Society traveling throughout the world and working with their research teams to develop appropriate solutions to a wide array of resource management problems that affect marine resources. He has served as consultant on development and sustainability issues to the USEPA, USAID, UNEP, and numerous governments and private consulting firms worldwide.

During his 35 years teaching at the University of Florida he mentored 110 master’s and PhD students and was awarded Teacher of the Year in 1999 and Graduate Advisor/Mentor of the year in 2006. Dr.    

Brown has been appointed as visiting lecturer in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA; Parthenope University of Naples, Italy; China Agricultural University - Beijing, and Beijing Normal University – Beijing, China.

In 2009 he was awarded Parthenope University’s (Italy) Research Scholar of the Year (2009), Distinguished Fulbright Chair of Energy and Environment at Parthenope University of Naples, Italy (2011) and currently he is Distinguished Visiting Professor at Beijing Normal University in China. In 2021 Dr. Brown was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society of Wetlands Scientists.



Dr. William Mitsch

Professor Emeritus, Florida Gulf Coast University

AEES President, 2002-2003

Dr. William J. Mitsch was Eminent Scholar and Director, Everglades Wetland Research Park, The Water School, and Juliet C. Sproul Chair for Southwest Florida Habitat Restoration at Florida Gulf Coast University, until his retirement in 2022. Before moving to Florida in 2012, he was at The Ohio State University for 27 years including 20 years as Director of the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park that he founded and 15 years as Distinguished Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. He remains Professor Emeritus in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at OSU.

Prior to these positions at FGCU and OSU, he held professorships at Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Louisville.  Dr. Mitsch holds a B.S. in mechanical/industrial engineering from University of Notre Dame and an M.E. and Ph.D. in environmental engineering science and systems ecology at University of Florida.

Dr. Mitsch’s research and teaching have focused on wetland and river ecology and biogeochemistry, wetlands and climate change, wetland creation and restoration, ecological engineering and ecosystem restoration, solving harmful algal blooms with nature-based solutions, and ecosystem modeling. Dr. Mitsch has authored or co-authored close to 800 research papers, abstracts, and other publications including 25 books. This includes the popular textbook Wetlands that is now in its 6th edition and was recently translated to Chinese. He founded and was editor-in-chief for 25 years of the international journal Ecological Engineering.

Dr. Mitsch has completed 85 graduate students through thesis or dissertation at 5 institutions in his 47 years as a professor. He is just now completing "Memoirs of an Environmental Science Professor"  (CRC Press, 2024) that describes in 9 chapters what he fought for in 

his career that was meaningful for environmental education and ecosystem protection.


A few of Dr. Mitsch’s awards include an Einstein Professorship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2010), a Doctorate honoris causa from University of Tartu, Estonia (2010), Ramsar Convention Award for Merit, (2015) and four Fulbright Fellowships: University of Copenhagen, Denmark (1986); University of Botswana, Maun Botswana (2007); Bialystok University of Technology, Bialystok, Poland (2016); Bangor University, Bangor, Wales, UK (2019) , and the  2004 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for lifetime achievements in lake/wetland ecology (2004).

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