Dr. Jay Levine, North Carolina State University professor of epidemiology and public health, is the recipient of the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Award presented by the NC State Office of Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development as part of organization’s annual “Celebrating the Engaged University” recognition program.
Dr. Levine earned the award for his leadership efforts with the Riverworks at Sturgeon City Project, a broad-based, community/university partnership that transformed the once devastated Wilson Bay on the New River in Jacksonville, NC, into a national model of environmental restoration and education.
The Wilson Bay Initiative was developed by the City of Jacksonville to restore water quality to Wilson Bay and the New River after decades of pollution from an old waste water treatment plant’s river discharge and residential and agricultural run-off. Dr. Levine, who directs the Aquatic Epidemiology and Conservation Laboratory at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, worked with Jacksonville officials in improving water quality of Wilson Bay and organizing efforts to transform the decommissioned waste water treatment plant and a landfill into a recreational green space called Sturgeon City.
The model site now supports numerous K-12 education program activities and civic events and has led to the creation of a non-profit foundation that continues to raise funds to construct Riverworks at Sturgeon City, a new environmental education center on the site.
Dr. Levine’s efforts involved bringing together numerous local stakeholders from government, education, business, and non-profit organizations; incorporating CVM and other NC State resources; integrating basic and applied research; and combining environmental principles with community design and economic development.
The NC State recognition is the first step in a national award program sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). The Riverworks at Sturgeon City Project now competes with other university/community partnerships nominated by other universities. The goal of the award program is to “identify colleges and universities that have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement functions to become even more sympathetically and productively involved with their communities.” The award is named for C. Peter Magrath, who served as president of APLU, then the National Association of State Universities and Land-grant Colleges, from 1992 to 2005.
Posted April 23, 2010