Orrin Pilkey Receives 2011 Frankenberg Oceanographic Award

December 15, 2011

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084, tdlucas@duke.edu

DURHAM, N.C. – Orrin H. Pilkey, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, has received the 2011 Dirk Frankenberg Oceanographic Award for Outstanding Public Service.

The award was presented to Pilkey, an internationally cited expert on the geology of barrier islands and beaches, by the Duke/University of North Carolina Oceanographic Consortium (DUNCOC).

DUNCOC is made up of five research institutions: Duke, UNC-CH, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and East Carolina University. It administers the R/V Cape Hatteras, an oceangoing research vessel owned by the National Science Foundation and based at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C.

The Frankenberg Award honors of the contributions of Dirk Frankenberg, a widely admired professor of marine sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of The Nature of the Outer Banks and The Nature of North Carolina's Southern Coast. Frankenberg, who died at age 62 in 2000, led both UNC-CH’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City from 1980 to 1993 and its marine sciences curriculum from 1974 to 1990. His research on carbon in estuaries was cited internationally.

“As marine and coastal educators and researchers, we all stand on Dirk Frankenberg’s shoulders,” Pilkey says. “I am deeply honored to receive this award that is presented in his memory.”

Since arriving at Duke in 1965, Pilkey has written dozens of books and peer-reviewed papers, taken part in hundreds of town hall meetings, legislative hearings and public debates, and been cited in thousands of media reports on the transitory nature of barrier island geology and the need for sustainable development in ecologically fragile coastal ecosystems.

In 2008, the North Carolina Coastal Federation awarded Pilkey a Lifetime Achievement Award and called him “the man who saved our beaches,” in recognition of his tireless, science-driven advocacy that helped convince the N.C. General Assembly to enact two piece of landmark environmental legislation: The Coastal Area Management Act of 1974, which designated North Carolina’s beaches and estuarine shorelines as protected areas; and new state rules in 1985 prohibiting seawalls, jetties and groins along the oceanfront.