2021 Award Winners

2021 NED Webster Award – Dr. Neil H. Ringler

Throughout his long and impressive career, Dr. Neil H. Ringler has advised countless undergraduates, while also training over 90 graduate students. For this lifelong dedication to the field and the people that are a part of it, we awarded Dr. Ringler for the Webster Award by the Northeastern Division of AFS. Dr. Ringler’s career spans decades and his contributions to fisheries science in the Northeast, as well as across the country, can be seen in the careers of those he has mentored. A professor at SUNY-ESF since 1975, rising through the ranks from Assistant Professor to Distinguished Teaching Professor, he is a beloved teacher, researcher, department chair, and Vice-Provost and will be retiring in July 2021. He has collaborated with others on projects related to Atlantic salmon restoration in Lake Ontario, Pacific salmon research in Lake Ontario, the USEPA EMAP program in the 1990s, and coordinating efforts on Onondaga Lake between Honeywell, NYSDEC, and EPA on biological monitoring and assessment from 2007 until his retirement in 2021. His love for teaching was emulated in the courses he taught, especially his courses of Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Aquatic Entomology. Through his expressive and illustrative communication, he has a way of bringing the subject to life, and throughout his tenure he has managed to stay current with the most recent advances in the field. Dr. Ringler introduced all of his graduate students to AFS, and from the 1980s through early 2000s, he would annually take a van loaded with students to the NY Chapter meeting. He is a respected researcher and teacher, and his students gained much confidence by attending these meetings. He also served as the faculty advisor for the ESF Chapter of AFS for numerous years, helping to shape many of us and instill in us the myriad benefits of belonging to AFS. In 2018, he received the Excellence in Fisheries Education award at the AFS meeting in Atlantic City, NJ.

AFS-NED President’s Award – Dr. Rich Bell

Dr. Rich Bell has been selected for the AFS-NED President’s Award because of his dedication to both the American Fisheries Society, but also because of his history of high caliber research. Rich has published manuscripts associated with several species of flatfish including Windowpane and Winter Flounder. Additionally, he has contributed articles to the ICES Journal of Marine Science, the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science among other journals demonstrating his internationally recognized expertise. Beyond his research accomplishments, Dr. Bell has actively served the American Fisheries Society. Rich has served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Division since 2016. His role as the longest serving member of the Executive Committee, spanning five Division Presidents, has been invaluable for maintaining institutional memory and consistent and efficient operations of the Executive Committee. He has made significant contributions to the fisheries of the Northeast by serving as the Nature Conservancy’s North American Lead Fisheries Scientist since 2016, member of the New England Fisheries Management Council since 2016, and as an adjunct professor with the University of Rhode Island since 2020, among many other professional contributions through his research and service.