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Gaye Farris Retires from the USGS National Wetlands Research Center

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Gaye S. Farris, Jim Grace, Tom Doyle, and Tommy Michot
Above: Gaye S. Farris was recently honored in Lafayette, Louisiana, with a retirement party, with the theme of "Queen of Hearts." The former branch chief of information and technology of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center is pictured here with center scientists, from left, Jim Grace, Tom Doyle, and Tommy Michot. She worked for the center for almost 30 years. [larger version]

Gaye Saucier Farris retired December 31, 2009, as information and technology branch chief of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, according to Center Director Janine Powell.

Farris worked for the center for 29 years, 26 as a Federal employee and 3 as a Louisiana Geological Survey employee on loan to the center. In that time, she was a technical editor, a supervisory technical information specialist, and acting assistant director in 1988 and 2007-2009. She worked at the Center in Slidell, Louisiana, from 1980 until 1992, when the Center moved its headquarters to Lafayette.

Farris has received numerous honors, including the Meritorious Service Award, the highest mid-level career award given by the Department of the Interior, which she received in 1995. In 1988, she was named outstanding research employee in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency that then contained the National Wetlands Research Center.

In 2007, Farris was named a Gulf Guardian by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for her career of communicating scientific information about the Gulf Coast. She also shared in three Lantern Awards from the Southern Public Relations Federation for promoting the importance of the Gulf of Mexico.

Farris and the Center's publishing staff have produced dozens of publications that have received national recognition, including awards from the National Association of Government Communicators and the Society for Technical Communication. Three were named "Notable Government Documents," an honor annually bestowed on a small selection of government publications by the American Library Association. Farris was managing editor of one of those publications, "Our Living Resources" (780 KB PDF). She was also managing editor of "Science and the Storms," which reported on the USGS response to the hurricanes of 2005, especially Katrina and Rita. In addition, Farris has written numerous articles about the Center's research.

Farris received a USGS Shoemaker Communications Award in 2008 for her speech on the professional and personal aspects of communicating during Hurricane Katrina. She shared in two other Shoemaker Awards for her contributions to the publication "Fragile Fringe" in 1997 and as a contributing editor to the USGS's Sound Waves newsletter in 2004.

In addition to her government work, Farris belonged to several professional organizations. She was president from 2001 to 2003 of the National Association of Government Communicators, which honored her contributions in 2008 by establishing a scholarship in her name.

Before entering government service, Farris was a journalist and teacher. During the 1960s and 70s, she was a reporter for the Times-Picayune/States-Item in New Orleans and the Cincinnati Post and Times-Star and wrote a weekly column for the Slidell Times. She was a science, journalism, and English teacher in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes, and was named outstanding young educator by the Slidell Jaycees in 1978.

Farris graduated magna cum laude in 1964 from Loyola University, where she was a member of Cardinal Key, Delta Epsilon Sigma, and the Thirty Club honor societies. She received distinction on her comprehensive examination for her master's degree in English in 1985 from the University of New Orleans, where she was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Farris also studied with Ernest Gaines, writer-in-residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1992.

Farris and her husband, Lionel, will soon join their sons, Greg and Jeff, and their families in Florida. Farris says she plans to write fiction and rediscover the wonders of childhood with her granddaughter Jordan.

Related Sound Waves Stories
USGS National Wetlands Research Center Staff Receive Awards
October 2008

Related Web Sites
Our Living Resources: A Report to the Nation on the Distribution, Abundance, and Health of U.S. Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems
Science and the Storms: the USGS Response to the Hurricanes of 2005
The Fragile Fringe

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SACNAS National Conference

Airborne Lidar Processing System (ALPS) Workshop

Awards Awards for USGS Publication on the Coral Reef of South Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i

Staff New USGS Director Visits Centers in California

Gaye Farris Retires from the USGS National Wetlands Research Center

Publications Jan. / Feb. 2010 Publications List

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