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Freeman Volunteer of the Year Award

This award is named for Robert Mallory Freeman, a former VIMS Council member and supporter who passed away in 2004. Bob was chairman of Signet Bank in Richmond until 1996. He was active with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Virginia Environmental Endowment, among many other community leadership activities. At VIMS, Bob was interested in oyster restoration, advancing research with cutting-edge scientific equipment, and helping to leverage resources like VIMS research vessel Pelican.

The winner of Freeman Award for 2010 is Ms. Kelsey Bryant.

Ms. Kelsey Bryant.Kelsey Bryant is a senior at William & Mary and will be one of the first to graduate with the Marine Science minor. Kelsey took the field studies class at the Eastern Shore Laboratory in May 2010, where her enthusiasm was contagious to the entire class. Shortly thereafter, she began volunteering with the Wetlands Ecology lab. Kelsey has a strong desire to learn and a willingness to “do what it takes” to get a job done—and done well. Few volunteers would endure the conditions she embraced. Summer 2010 brought record-breaking heat and humidity, yet she jumped at opportunities to join in even the most tedious work—from watching plants grow (literally measuring CO2 uptake) to plucking root tissue out of organic soil.

Kelsey has consistently dedicated her time and energy to support the lab's research into vegetative responses to sea-level rise. She asks good questions and is clearly dedicated to the field of ecology. Indeed, her passion to continue investigating what we cannot necessarily see has transferred to the other student volunteers. She even drives the other volunteers to VIMS from the main campus every week! She has set a high bar for volunteers in the Wetlands Ecology lab, and VIMS has been very fortunate to have her assistance.

Kelsey, please accept this award as our appreciation of your dedication, loyalty, and efficiency while volunteering at VIMS.