Wendi Goldsmith, Director, Center for Urban Watershed Renewal and alumna, Conway School, has received the 2016 Joan Hodges Queneau Palladium Medal presented jointly by the National Audubon Society and the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES). The award recognizes an individual who encourages cooperation between engineering professionals and environmentalists to create innovative solutions to environmental problems. Past recipients include Luna Leopold and Jared Cohon. Goldsmith will be honored officially at the annual AAES awards banquet, held April 18, 2016, at the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C.
The award recognizes Goldsmith “for championing science-based practices for resilient facility and infrastructure design and construction using interdisciplinary solutions to integrate ecosystem services, with a broad history of facilitating creative and successful collaboration between engineers, environmental scientists and sustainability policy advocates.” For 25 years her work has demonstrated economically and ecologically effective measures for combined climate change mitigation and adaptation, better preparing communities to avoid disaster losses, a timely topic today.
Goldsmith embraced science and stewardship based design early, having graduated in 1990 from the Conway School, soon after graduating from Yale with joint degrees in Geology and Geophysics and Environmental Studies. Goldsmith has returned often to Conway as guest lecturer, critic, and seminar leader and currently serves as Master Teacher. She was co-founder in 1999 and has since served as Director of the Center for Urban Watershed Renewal, an NGO. She was also CEO of Bioengineering Group, a science and design firm, from 1992 until its sale in 2014. A licensed geologist, she is best known for her work promoting and conducting planning and design of green infrastructure and related measures applying natural system functions linked to engineering performance. Green infrastructure uses living plants, natural sediment transport process, and healthy soils to add self-repair capacity and harness local energy inputs and outputs. While the approach has an established history, Goldsmith helped broaden its acceptance, including for applications previously deemed too complex and demanding. She assisted many private sector as well as federal, state, and municipal government clients to understand the technical feasibility, socioeconomic value, and ecological benefits through research, trainings, and consulting roles on hundreds of planning and design projects throughout the US and abroad. Her projects have garnered numerous top national awards, including from ASCE, ACEC, and AAEA.
In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, Society of American Military Engineers, and others, Goldsmith has supported policy development through engagement with elected officials and industry forums. She has led the Center for Urban Watershed Renewal’s policy formulation and outreach related to green infrastructure for climate and disaster resilience in coastal and river corridors based on Public-Private Partnership mechanisms for finance. In addition to reports related to projects and policy development, she has authored many papers, book chapters, and two books to better share information with fellow practitioners. Her notable honors include the Bronze Order of the De Fleury Medal.
The Center for Urban Watershed Renewal’s mission is to transform stigmatized and degraded sites into ecologically, economically, and socially viable amenities. Successfully leveraging grants and Public-Private Partnership finance, the Center (www.CUWR.org) has engaged in developing policy and transacting projects for conservation and restoration of over 60,000 acres of contaminated and damaged lands across the US.
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