Dr. Edwin Masteller, Penn State Behrend professor of biology emeritus and volunteer curator of the Natural History Museum at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, was a recipient of the 2012 John C. Oliver Environmental Leadership Award.
The award is given annually by the Friends of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center to recognize environmental leaders who influence policy and programming at the center, at Presque Isle State Park, on Presque Isle Bay, or along Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie shoreline.
“The existence and high quality of the Natural History Museum at TREC is due to the vision, persistence and dogged determination of Dr. Masteller,” the award states. “His goal of making collections of organisms in the area and listing them on the up-to-date Dynamic Dunes web site (http://dynamicdunes.bd.psu.edu/) helps others now and in the future make good environmental decisions. His former students carry on his enthusiasm for biology and are transferring that enthusiasm to others. The Erie community and Pennsylvania Sea Grant have benefited by Ed's involvement in many projects over the years.”
The John C. Oliver Environmental Leadership Award is named to honor the first Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the first board chair of the Friends of TREC, and a lifelong environmental leader.
Masteller taught courses in general biology, botany, zoology, invertebrate zoology, and limnology at Penn State Behrend for twenty-seven years. He has been volunteer curatorial coordinator at TREC since 2005, and was instrumental in the design of the natural history museum's collection and storage areas. The collection includes forty-eight entomological cabinets, twelve herbarium cabinets, and eight vertebrate, rock, and fossil cabinets. Represented in the collection are over 3,000 insects, 600 plants, sixty species of fish, and twenty species of amphibians and reptiles
All TREC specimens have their collection data stored in a public database. The specimens themselves are available for study on a limited basis.