Ohio State University Sea Grant Extension Specialist Fred Snyder has been honored with the Ohio Lake Erie Commission’s 2009 Lake Erie Award. The award is presented annually to the most outstanding citizen devoting his or her life’s work to the environmental stewardship of Lake Erie. A similar award is also granted to an outstanding organization.
Snyder was Ohio Sea Grant’s first Extension Agent, hired in October 1978, and served in that position until his retirement on August 31, 2009. In those 31 years, he helped Ohio Sea Grant to become one of the top ranked programs in the United States with initiatives that included establishment of the Ohio Charter Captain’s Conference, held this year for the 28th time. His work with charter fishing captains helped to foster extensive growth in the industry, from 34 licensed captains in 1975 to approximately 800 in 2009. He was inducted into the Ohio Charter Boat Hall of Fame for his efforts in 1995.
Snyder’s work helped to establish Sea Grant as a trusted source of resources in the North Coast community. His Ohio Sea Grant Advisory Committee, the first at Ohio State University, was a key part in establishing Sea Grant’s State Legislature/Congressional Days on Lake Erie and in negotiating a communication system between the Camp Perry Firing Range and the public for access to key Western Basin fishing reefs.
"Fred is the epitome of what it means to be a Sea Grant agent," says Dr. Jeff Reutter, Director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory. "He has always put the needs of his clientele first. He solves problems and eases the tension when conflict is present. No one has created partnerships, empowered people, helped businesses, or taught students better than Fred. He is highly deserving of this prestigious award."
For Snyder, the award signifies a job well done and well loved. "It’s a tremendous honor to be singled out by the Commission for such a recognition," Snyder explains. "Standing before the agencies that make up the Lake Erie Commission, and looking at the attendees in the room-so many great friends and colleagues who played parts in many of the projects that became successful-the award is a reminder that to spend 31 years working on projects I loved with people who helped so selflessly has been a very rare privilege."