April 16, 2003
Contact: Ward Mullens

EMU Professor Earns NOAA Environmental Hero Award

YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University Professor Carl Ojala has been selected as an Environmental Hero by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Held in conjunction with Earth Day celebrations, the award honors NOAA volunteers for their ‘tireless efforts to preserve and protect the nation’s environment.’ Each Spring since 1994, Ojala has annually trained roughly 400 SKYWARN Spotters on behalf of the National Weather Service, and has maintained the agency’s Cooperative Weather Station in Ypsilanti since 1986.

“I’m extremely humbled and gratified by this award,” said Ojala, who has been at EMU since 1970. “It means that they appreciate the work and think that it’s important.”

“NOAA and the nation are fortunate to have such dedicated people volunteer so much of their time,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “They set a perfect example for others to follow in their communities. America needs more environmental heroes like them.”

Established in 1995 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day, the Environmental Hero award is presented to individuals and organizations that volunteer their time and energy to help NOAA carry out its mission. Previous recipients include oceanographers Jean-Michel Cousteau and Sylvia Earle, and actor Ted Danson, head of the American Ocean Campaign.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Eastern Michigan University ( is a four-year, comprehensive metropolitan University committed to the needs of its students and communities through teaching, research and service. EMU offers more than 400 programs in the arts, sciences and professions through traditional classroom settings, off-site continuing education classes and on-line courses. EMU is the fifth largest University in Michigan, serving more than 24,500 students from around the world and offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate programs.