a brief history of the
New England Estuarine Research Society

Alan M. Young, NEERS Historian
Salem State College, Salem, Massachusetts


bird watchers at Race Point, NEERS field trip NEERS meeting poster session NEERS meeting poster session NEERSighted Band in action

Ancestry of NEERS

At the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Chicago in the winter of 1948-49, Nelson Marshall and Willard A. Van Engel of the Virginia Fisheries Laboratory, and L. Eugene Cronin of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, noted over breakfast "that there was no effective means of communication among (their) associates in the coastal area of the Chesapeake region and the Carolinas, that interdisciplinary exchange would be good for all of the scientists of the region and that improvement in exchange was highly desirable." A committee consisting of Van Engel, Cronin, and L. A. Walford of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was established to investigate ways to address these concerns. On April 23-24, 1949, twenty-two scientists from the Chesapeake/Carolina area met at the University of North Carolina laboratory in Morehead City, North Carolina, to form a new association. A number of names for the new organization were suggested and considered, including "Eastern Estuarine Research Society," "Chesapeake-Carolina Fisheries Research Association," "Chesapeake-Carolina Estuarine Society," "Society for the Advancement of Estuarine Research," and "Brackish Boys". "Atlantic Research Society for Estuaries" was popular but was not chosen because the acronym seemed indelicate. A rearrangement of words resulted in "Atlantic Estuarine Research Society," the name ultimately adopted, along with a constitution and bylaws. L. Eugene Cronin was chosen to be President, and Willard A. Van Engel as Secretary-Treasurer. The purposes of AERS were (and still are) "the informal discussion and exchange of ideas upon estuarine and related research problems centering in the Chesapeake-Carolina area." It was decided to hold a meeting each Spring and Fall to accomplish these goals.

Founding of NEERS

Over the next two decades the number of marine programs along the Atlantic coast increased dramatically. By the Fall of 1969, it was apparent that regional societies were warranted to accommodate marine scientists outside the mid-Atlantic region, and AERS "voted to allow organization of regional sections of the society." AERS indicated that it would consider revising its bylaws to include three regional societies under the AERS umbrella: AERS-North (New York and north), AERS-Central (New Jersey south to Virginia), and AERS-South (North and South Carolina). Johnes K. Moore of Salem State College invited 26 marine colleagues to meet with the intention of creating a New England section of AERS (which might be renamed the American Estuarine Research Society). Twenty-three invitees replied and 20 attended an organizational meeting held in the Faculty Lounge at Salem State College at 10:00 AM on December 13, 1969. (see the list of participants) Disagreement with the language in the AERS constitution and bylaws lead to the creation of a separate organization, the New England Estuarine Research Society (NEERS). Jay Moore was selected as President, Galen E. Jones of the University of New Hampshire as Secretary, and Robert Zottoli of Fitchburg State College as Treasurer. Two additional selections, David Dean of the University of Maine, and Irwin Alperin of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, completed the Executive Committee.

Inaugural Meeting of NEERS

It was arranged to hold the inaugural meeting of NEERS at the recently completed University of New Hampshire New England Conference Center in Durham, New Hampshire, in the Spring of 1970, just before the formal dedication of the new Jackson Estuarine Laboratory (named in honor of the late UNH Professor Emeritus C. Floyd Jackson) on Great Bay Estuary, which was scheduled for the morning of Saturday, May 30, 1970. It was decided to have an informal contributed paper session on the afternoon of Thursday, May 28, and a more formal invited speaker symposium, "Pollution of Estuaries" on Friday, May 29. In the tradition of AERS, there would be a Beer Blast Thursday evening and a banquet Friday evening. Langley Wood, Zoology Department Chairman at UNH, agreed to serve as Program Organizer for the meeting. A check for $75 from AERS "to help underwrite the initial expenses of the organization" was used to pay mailing costs for the meeting. Eight contributed papers were presented on Thursday. The Pollution of Estuaries symposium on Friday was moderated by Bostwick H. Ketchum of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the speakers were John H. Ryther of WHOI, David Pramer of Rutgers University, Michael Waldichuck of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Edward Goldberg of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Thomas J. McIntyre, U.S. Senator from New Hampshire. Donald P. de Sylva of the Rosenstiel Institute in Miami was scheduled to speak on "Effects of Heated Effluents" but had to cancel at the last minute. After the banquet Dennis J. Crisp of University College of North Wales gave an entertaining talk entitled "A Testing Time for Biology" (see the Program for a full list of papers presented at the meeting). The meeting proved so successful that it was decided to continue meeting in the AERS tradition each Spring and Fall.

Proposed Name Changes for NEERS

Since mid-1971, NEERS membership has included colleagues from New York, New Jersey, and the eastern Provinces of Canada, primarily New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. As early as 1973 it was suggested that the name might be changed to "Northeast Estuarine Research Society" to "retain the same acronym...(and) make it possible to include interested eastern Canadian members". In 1991 this suggestion was revived. However, when it was pointed out that "Northeast" is inappropriate for the Canadian members since they are from the southeastern part of Canada, alternative new names were proposed, including NEAP (New England and Atlantic Provinces), NEAPS (New England and Atlantic Provinces Society), NEAPERS (New England and Atlantic Provinces Estuarine Research Society), ERS of NEAP (Estuarine Research Society of New England and the Atlantic Provinces), NAERS (North Atlantic Estuarine Research Society), NowAERS (Northwestern Atlantic Estuarine Research Society), and, in a reference to a heavy crop of recent papers on the subjects, NEERS (New England Eelgrass Research Society) or (Nitrogen Enrichment and Eelgrass Research Society). After much discussion at the Fall 1998 meeting, it was decided that, since there was strong sentiment to retain the original name, not very strong sentiment to change it, and no consensus on what name would be better, the organization would continue to be NEERS, the New England Estuarine Research Society.

Estuarine Research Federation

In 1971, AERS and NEERS agreed to form a broader organization, the Estuarine Research Federation, to encourage estuarine and coastal research in the United States and other countries. Chosen as the first President of ERF was L. Eugene Cronin, who had been the first President of AERS 22 years earlier. In July, 1971, the members of NEERS voted 73-1 to approve ERF's Constitution. ERF meetings of all affiliates would be held in the Fall of odd-numbered years. Twenty-two NEERS members attended the inaugural meeting of ERF, held as a joint meeting with AERS and NEERS at Plainfield, Long Island, New York, November 4-6, 1971. Two additional ERF meetings have been held in the New England region and organized by NEERS members -- the 8th (1985) in Durham, New Hampshire, organized by Ted Loder and W. Berry Lyons, and the 14th (1997) in Providence, Rhode Island, organized by Veronica Berounsky and Walter Berry. Each affiliate society contributes $300 to ERF for each biennial meeting.

Each affiliate president is a member of the ERF Governing Board. In addition, other NEERS members have often held positions on the ERF Board as President (H. Perry Jeffries 1973-75, Barbara Welsh 1981-83, Candace Oviatt 1995-97, and Anne Giblin 1999-2001), as Secretary (Peter Larsen 1981-83, Gilbert Chase 1983-85, and Veronica Berounsky 1995-97), and as Member-at-Large (Patricia Hughes 1987-88, Judith Capuzzo 1988-89, Candace Oviatt 1989-91, and Linda Deegan 1993-97).

Kenneth Tenore served as the first NEERS Correspondent to the ERF Newsletter which was initiated in February 1975. When Ken deserted NEERS by moving to Georgia that summer, Ernest Ruber took over as NEERS Correspondent to complete the "two-year" term and did yeoman service until finally stepping down in 1983, after which time the duties were assumed by the NEERS Secretary. From 1978-79 NEERS member Bob Radulski served as Editor of the ERF Newsletter.

In 1978, the Federation assumed responsibility for a regional journal titled Chesapeake Science which had been initiated in 1960 by Romeo J. Mansueti and published by the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. The journal was later renamed Estuaries and enlarged and improved in a new format. NEERS member Scott Nixon has served as an Editor-in-Chief since 1988. Initially, all members of affiliate societies were automatically members of ERF, with $1 of each member's dues being forwarded to ERF. That changed when ERF reorganized in 1984 and Full Membership in ERF was decoupled from affiliate society membership and coupled instead to subscription to Estuaries . Since January 1, 1986, membership in ERF has required filling out a separate membership form and paying separate dues to ERF.

Other Regional Affiliates

The success of NEERS soon lead to the formation of other regional societies -- the Gulf Estuarine Research Society (GERS) in 1973, the Southeastern Estuarine Research Society (SEERS) in 1974, and the Pacific Estuarine Research Society (PERS) in 1979. NEERS sent a check for $50 to assist the fledgling SEERS, much as AERS had done previously for NEERS.

NEERS Executive Committee

The 1969-1970 pro-tem Executive Committee consisted of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, and two additional Members-at-Large. With the election of a new President at the Fall 1970 meeting, the Past-President was added to the Executive Committee. The number of members actually remained at five, however, since the Secretary and Treasurer were combined into one Secretary-Treasurer position.

At the Fall 1980 meeting the position of Historian was created (although Marie Abbott had been acting as unofficial historian, storing records in her Woods Hole office since the mid-70's); this position was added to the Executive Committee in Fall 1988. The position of Program Chair was created in Fall 1978 but not added to the Executive Committee until Fall 1994. At the Fall 1988 meeting, when the practice was begun of electing Presidents a term early so that they could gain experience serving on the Executive Committee for two years before assuming office, the position of President-Elect was added to the Executive Committee. As early as Fall 1981 it was recommended that the position of Secretary-Treasurer be split into Secretary and Treasurer, but that was not done until Fall 1994, when both positions became members of the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee now consists of the President, immediate Past-President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Program Chair, Historian, two Members-at-Large, and the representative to ERF (a role usually assumed by the President). The President, Secretary, and Treasurer, are elected by a vote of the membership attending the even-numbered year Fall meeting; the Program Chair, Historian, Members-at-Large, and ERF Representative are appointed by the incoming President. All terms run for two years, and any officer with the exception of the President may be re-elected. In addition, the Editor of the NEERS Newsletter (begun in 1994) and the Local Meeting Organizer generally attend Executive Committee meetings. (see current NEERS Constitution and a complete list of historical and present Executive Committee members)

NEERS Meetings

At the founding, NEERS was described as "a regional organization devoted to informal discussions among estuarine and coastal marine scientists of the six New England states and New York." The first four NEERS meetings were in the Spring and Fall of 1970 and 1971. After the formation of ERF, NEERS has held regional meetings each Spring and Fall of even-numbered years and each Spring of odd-numbered years, while the Fall of odd-numbered years has been an ERF meeting of the combined affiliate societies. Exceptions occurred in 1975 and 1981, when NEERS held local meetings in addition to the ERF meeting due to the great distance of the ERF meeting, and in 1985, when the ERF meeting was held in New Hampshire in July and the NEERS meeting was held in the Fall rather than in the Spring. Including the Spring 1999 meeting, there have been 48 NEERS meetings (not including NEERS sections at ERF meetings) with the following site breakdown: 15 in Massachusetts, 10 in Maine, 9 in Connecticut, 5 in Rhode Island, 4 in New Hampshire, 3 in Nova Scotia, 2 in New York, and 1 in New Brunswick. (see the archive of meeting documents and the complete list of meeting details).

The number of participants was not recorded for most meetings in the 1980's. Based on the data which are available, the meetings with the highest number of participants were the Spring 1974 meeting in Woods Hole, Massachusetts (184), and the Spring 1978 meeting at Boothbay Harbor, Maine (183). Massachusetts members must prefer to travel out of state since other high attendance meetings include Fall 1990 at Newport, Rhode Island (168), Fall 1996 at Block Island, Rhode Island (162), Spring 1991 at Galilee, Rhode Island (over 150), and Spring 1975 at Rockport, Maine (150). (see the Past Meeting Details or the record of participation for the number of participants per meeting.

Informality at NEERS meetings has always been emphasized, both in dress (sweatshirts and jeans -- yes; dresses or jackets and ties -- no) and presentations (works in progress papers favored over completed research). The only real requirement to give a paper is that the presenter must be (or become at the meeting) a member of NEERS. Initially, 15-20 papers were chosen for presentation, with any additional submissions relegated to "stand-by" status. In an effort to allow as many members as possible to present their research, sessions were expanded to accommodate 25-30 papers. On three occasions (Spring 1984, Spring 1987, Spring 1990) concurrent paper sessions were held due to the large numbers of abstracts submitted. The highest number of papers at any NEERS meeting was 48 presented at the Fall 1990 meeting. More presenters have been accommodated since the addition of a poster session at the Spring 1978 meeting; a high of 20 posters were presented at the Fall 1996 meeting.

Through the Fall 1998 meeting some 1171 papers (and 146 posters) have been presented at NEERS meetings (not including NEERS sessions at ERF meetings). Fully half of the papers (595) have been biological, 16 have dealt with nutrient dynamics, 7 with methods, 5 with geology, 6 each with chemistry and physical aspects, and 10 with other topics. (see the tabulation of the number of papers and posters presented at each NEERS meeting and the tabulation of papers per topic per meeting) Through the three decades of NEERS meetings the trend has been for a decrease in strictly biological papers (from 66 in the 70's to 38 in the 90's) and an increase in papers dealing with nutrients (from 9 in the 70's to 25 in the 90's). The frequencies of remaining topics have not varied much although there has been an increase from 4 to 17 in papers dealing with "other" topics, due mainly to more papers on management practices.

Number (%) of NEERS papers by topic for each decade

Decade Total Biological Nutrients Geological Physical Chemical Methods Other
1970's 357 234(65.5) 33(9.2) 16(4.5) 18(5.0) 19(5.3) 23(6.4) 14(3.9)
1980"s 411 206(50.1) 58(14.1) 30(7.3) 27(6.6) 25(6.1) 27(6.6) 38(9.2)
1990's 408 155(38.0) 100(24.5) 13(3.2) 19(4.7) 22(5.4) 31(7.6) 68(16.7)
Total 1171 595(50.8) 191(16.3) 59(5.0) 64(5.5) 66(5.6) 81(6.9) 120(10.2)

For the first few years, informal special interest group discussions were held on a variety of topics after the last paper on Friday afternoon. As participation in these informal discussions waned, alternatives replaced them. The Spring 1977 meeting had the first theme for a contributed paper session ("Geochemistry of Estuaries, and its Biological Implications"); the first panel discussion took place at the Spring 1980 meeting ("Proposed Construction of a 20-unit Condominium in/on/near a Salt Marsh -- What May Happen? Should it Happen?"); and the first invited speaker session since the inaugural meeting was held at the Spring 1981 meeting ("The Future of New England Estuaries and Coastal Environments in the Eighties"). Thursday afternoon or all day symposia have been common since then (see the list of all special session and symposium topics) At most meetings there is one paper covering an overview of a local estuary which has received extensive study. A typical NEERS meeting now consists of a special topic symposium session of contributed papers (and sometimes a field trip) on Thursday, followed by a Thursday evening Beer Blast (renamed a "Social" beginning with the Spring 1993 meeting in a bow to political correctness); contributed papers (and a poster session) on Friday, followed by a business meeting and banquet, and dancing later at a local nightclub; contributed papers Saturday morning, and field trips to local sites of interest on Saturday afternoon. Copies of abstracts were first made available to meeting attendees at the Spring 1979 meeting and have been available at all meeting since Spring 1981.

While all NEERS meetings have been enjoyable and informative, some have been more memorable than others. Of particular note are the two ferry crossings to meetings in Nova Scotia, the First Fun-Filled Fall Fundy Ferry Forum (FFFFFFF) in Fall 1975 and the Second Spring Semi-Serious Scotian Shipboard Symposium (SSSSSSS) in Spring 1991. At the Fall 1975 meeting high winds delayed the arrival of the ferry Scotia Prince to the point where Bernie McAlice began a pool for when the ferry would finally arrive. The ferry ended up being five hours late and, to add insult to injury, the winner of the pool was an "outsider," Vicky Amato of Sebago Lake, Maine. Other boat trips went more smoothly -- an evening sampling cruise along the Thames River (Spring 1993), a tour of the Great Bay/Piscataqua River area (Spring 1995), and the ferry trip to and from Block Island (Fall 1996). During the Fall 1994 meeting in Orleans on Cape Cod at the Jailhouse Tavern (which seemed a more appropriate setting for a NEERS meeting than the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Duxbury, MA, where paper sessions were held at the Spring 1984 meeting), the call for assistance for a Friday afternoon heavy rain sewer overflow at a nearby Stop & Shop parking lot seemed suspiciously suited to the "Translating Science into Management" symposium. And then, of course, there was the infamous Spring 1978 meeting in Boothbay, Maine, in the saloon of the Rusty Anchor, marking the first appearance of the NEERS Kazoo Band and the still record $2959 bar tab ($953 was spent for food). After attending the Spring 1980 NEERS meeting, ERF Newsletter Editor and member of SEERS, A. Quint White surmised that NEERS stood for "Nothing Else Like It Estuarine Research Society" and further suggested that NEERS members each should be tattooed "Do Not Preserve -- Pre-pickled in Ethanol." While NEERS earned a reputation during the 70's for considerable alcohol consumption at meetings, the organization enjoys a more important reputation for being an excellent forum for exchange of scientific ideas in a friendly, informal setting.

Membership in NEERS

Three categories of membership were established in 1970: Regular ("limited to those actively involved in estuarine research"), Associate ("for those interested in estuaries, but not actively involved in or with future plans for research"), and Student ("for registered students in an academic institution with an interest in estuarine matters"). Dues were set at $3, $2, and $1 respectively. Only NEERS members could attend Business Meetings and only Regular members had voting privileges. At the Spring 1971 meeting, a revised set of by-laws were accepted which dropped the membership category of Associate and added a new category, Honorary, for "persons whose outstanding contributions in estuarine and coastal zone matters have been recognized by nomination of the Executive Committee and ratification by a two-thirds majority of those regular members present and voting". Because $1 out of each member's dues (which were $1 for students) had to be sent to ERF, the student membership category was dropped before the Spring 1976 meeting. It was reinstated after the Fall 1988 meeting (at $5), along with a new membership category, Emeritus, to be awarded after written request from a NEERS member who was at least 65 years of age, and who had been a NEERS member for at least ten years.

The 1971 by-laws indicate that, to become a member of NEERS, "Written application for membership must be endorsed by a regular member and forwarded to the Executive Committee for review. The Executive Committee shall forward the application with its recommendations to the membership for a vote at the next regular meeting. Election to membership shall be by simple majority." When Paul Chanley pointed out at an Executive Committee meeting In the late 70's that NEERS had never turned an applicant down, these rigorous formal standards and procedures were replaced with the current policy: "applicants will become members upon payment of dues".

To date NEERS has bestowed Honorary membership on eleven individuals, four of whom are now deceased (correct in 1999, number increased to 14 by 2006). (see a complete list of Honorary Members)

The number of NEERS members increased dramatically in the first few years, from the 20 founders in December, 1969 to 75 by June, 1970, to 135 by October, 1970, and 190 by June 1971. The number of members exceeded 300 in early 1975 and reached an all time high of 424 in 1978. At the Fall 1976 meeting members wondered if NEERS was getting too large and should consider splitting. Fortunately, membership leveled off to approximately 350, with roughly half attending meetings. The largest percentage of members has always been from Massachusetts, accounting for between 23 and 38% of the total membership, ranging (since 1975) from a low of 62 members in 1977 to a high of 145 in 1995. Early on the number of members from Maine and New Hampshire exceeded that from Connecticut and Rhode Island but that trend reversed in the early 80's. Peak numbers were reached in 1977-78 for Maine (62), New Hampshire (68) and New York (46) while lows were reached in the 90's (Maine -- 21, New Hampshire -- 22, New York -- 13). In contrast, peak numbers were reached in 1995-96 for Connecticut (88) and Rhode Island (68) while the fewest number of members occurred in 1997 for Connecticut (47) and 1982 for Rhode Island (29). New Jersey membership peaked at 19 in both 1978 and 1998 with fewest members (5) in 1995. Canada reached a high of 21 members in 1982 and a low of 3 in 1997. The number of Vermont members has ranged from 0 throughout the 70's and 80's to a high of 3 in 1998. The current NEERS membership (as of December, 1998) stands at 359 (271 Regular, 81 Student, 7 Honorary). (see the list of long-time current members and the tabulation and figures of membership by region and year).

NEERS Awards

At the Fall 1973 meeting, Bernie McAlice proposed the establishment of a $25 award for the best student paper. The "Student Award" was first given at the Spring 1974 meeting, when two students tied for the award and split the $25 cash prize. In the Fall of 1974 Jay Moore was commissioned to design a certificate for the Student Award (see below for the original pencil sketch by Jay Moore for the "Student Award" certificate). Due to opposition from some members the Student Award was discontinued after the Fall 1975 meeting.

Original Student Award

At the Fall 1982 meeting, Larry Spencer suggested that the award for best student paper be revived, and be named in honor of Bostwick H. Ketchum, who had died in July. Buck (as he was known) earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1938. After teaching at Long Island University for one year, he began, in 1940, a long and distinguished career at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, as Associate Marine Biologist, Marine Microbiologist, Senior Biologist, Senior Oceanographer, Senior Scientist, and finally Associate Director (1962-77). He joined NEERS in 1970 and was made an Honorary Member in 1973. The "Buck Ketchum Prize" for the Best Student Paper, consisting of a certificate and $50 cash, was first awarded at the Spring 1983 meeting. Initially, requirements were that the student must be sole author of the paper; in 1990 this requirement was revised such that "the student must clearly be the major contributing author." The cash value of the award was increased beginning in Fall 1984 to $100 (additional sponsor donations raised the award to $150 at the Spring 1986 and Spring 1988 meetings).

At the Fall 1988 meeting Kathy Smith suggested creating a best undergraduate paper award, to be named the Stubby Rankin Prize, in honor of long-time NEERS member John S. Rankin, who had died in December, 1987. Stubby (the nickname originated in graduate school due to his stubborn nature) received a Ph.D. in Parasitology from Duke University in 1936. He taught at Amherst College for five years and the University of Washington for two years before moving to the University of Connecticut in 1943. Stubby founded (in 1956) and served as Director of UConn's Marine Research Laboratory in Noank. He taught various courses in Invertebrate Zoology until his retirement in 1976, after which he served various administrative stints at AAAS, the Sea Education Association, and the National Science Foundation. Stubby joined NEERS in 1970 and was made an Honorary Member in 1981. The Stubby Rankin Prize for Best Undergraduate Student Paper was established by the Executive Committee at the Spring 1989 meeting, and was first presented at the Fall 1989 meeting by his widow and long-time NEERS meeting attendee, Julie Rankin. With the creation of the Rankin Prize for Best Undergraduate Student Paper, the Ketchum Prize became the award for the Best Graduate Student Paper. The cash value for the Rankin Prize was set at $50, with the Ketchum Prize remaining at $100.

At the Spring 1996 meeting Alan Young suggested creating a third award, the David Dean Prize, for the best student poster. David Dean received a Ph.D. from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in 1957. He taught for nine years at the University of Connecticut before moving to the University of Maine in 1966, where he served as Director of the Ira C. Darling Center from 1966 to 1979 and as Assistant Director/Director of the U. Maine Sea Grant Program from 1971 to 1979 before retiring in 1987. Dave was one of the founders of NEERS and the first elected (and only deceased) NEERS president. He joined NEERS in 1971, was made an Honorary Member in 1988, and died in 1991. The membership voted to establish the Dean Prize and to set the cash value of all three Prizes at $100. The Dean Prize for Best Student Poster was first awarded at the Fall 1996 meeting.

The Ketchum Fund was established in 1986 to provide monies for the Ketchum Prize. The Ketchum Fund was renamed the Student Award Fund when the Rankin Prize was added in 1989. From modest beginnings, the fund now has an endowment in excess of $11,000 and is used to fund all three student prizes plus travel awards to students presenting papers at ERF meetings and occasionally at NEERS meetings.

All student awards were presented at the Friday evening banquet, to which award candidates were admitted free (see the complete list of all award winners). With the retirement of the Friday banquet in 2014, awards ceremonies were moved to the end of the meeting, on Saturday afternoon.

At the Spring 1997 meeting, David Franz suggested establishing the NEERS Achievement Award "to be given to individuals who, in the judgment of the Awards Committee, have made very significant contributions over a period of years to estuarine science, education, conservation, or management. Recipients need not be members of NEERS but must agree to attend a NEERS meeting to receive the award in person." The Awards Committee will consist of the immediate past-president plus two other past-presidents appointed by the current President. The Awards Committee will receive suggestions from the membership and forward recommendations to the Executive Committee for final selection. The establishment of this new award was approved at the Fall 1998 meeting, with the first presentation anticipated in 1999.

From time to time there have been other impromptu awards and contests. These include the "Bubonic Award" (Spring 1976) for the speaker wearing the loudest blouse or shirt, the "Estuarine Biologist at Work Slide Contest" (Spring 1980), a t-shirt design contest (Fall 1982), a logo design contest (Spring 1984), and the "First Annual Paul Chanley Memorial Beer Can Stacking Contest (Spring 1992). Unfortunately (fortunately ?), winners of these awards were not recorded. We do know, however, that Barbara Welsh and her colleagues won the homemade sampling device "Rube Goldberg Award" (Spring 1979) for a maximum-minimum recording tide gauge built at a cost of one popsicle (to provide the stick required in the mechanism). Also of note is that Robert Radulski, at the Fall 1975 meeting, was awarded the "Gunga Din Medal" for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action" when he was able to use his belt to fashion a substitute for a failed beer keg pump gasket, saving the Beer Blast participants from "falling victim to desiccation, disgruntlement, and despair."

NEERS Finances

After the Fall 1970 meeting, the NEERS cash balance stood at $171.60. It grew slowly during the 70's, finally exceeding $2000 in 1978. It grew more rapidly as Treasurers became more proficient at picking faster horses, exceeding $5000 in 1985, $10,000 in 1988, and $15,000 in 1990. The current balance is a healthy $27,025.

The major sources of income for NEERS are dues, meeting registration fees, and interest on bank accounts. Regular dues began at $3 in 1970, increasing to $5 in 1979, $6 in 1981, $8 in 1983, $10 in 1984, and $15 in 1997. Student dues were $1 from 1970-75, the same as Regular dues from 1976 to 1988, and have been $5 since 1989. Registration fees have ranged from a low of $2 at the first few meetings to a high of $40 at the Spring 1999 meeting in Nova Scotia. Recently, the more organized NEERS members have been able to take advantage of discounts by preregistering. There were reduced registration fees for students at the 1973-1975 meetings, the Spring 1983 meeting, the Spring 1989 meeting, and at all meetings since Spring 1994. Banquet costs have ranged from a low of $4.25 at the Fall 1970 meeting in Kingston, Rhode Island, to a high of $35.00 at the Spring 1997 meeting in Wells, Maine (the banquet at the Fall 1996 meeting on Block Island, Rhode Island, although listed at $38.00, actually was included in the overall hotel accommodations package) (see the complete list of registration and banquet costs for each meeting).

NEERS Communications

The NEERS Newsletter was initiated in 1994 with Richard Orson as Editor. Bob Radulski joined him as Assistant Editor in 1997. In 1994, Bernie Gardner of the University of Massachusetts (Boston) set up the NEERSlst bulletin board whereby NEERS members who have email addresses can post and receive electronic messages which are of interest to the entire membership. In 1997, Larry Spencer of Plymouth State College unveiled a NEERS webpage ( ). Larry, Ron Rozsa of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and Fred Short of the University of New Hampshire comprised the first NEERS web committee. Current members are listed on the Team NEERS page.

Acknowledgements and References

Information in this history was compiled from numerous archive documents plus contribution from several helpful NEERS members (especially Bernie McAlice, Veronica Berounsky, and Pam Arnofsky). Any errors or omissions should be brought to the attention of the author. Additional information concerning AERS was obtained from these unpublished sources:

Cronin, L.E. undated "Early Days of the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society" 6 pp

Cronin, L.E. 1990. "Estuarine Associations in the United States" 4 pp

Lear, D., J. Williams & G. Cronin 1968 "An Historie of the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society" 9 pp