Bob Stankelis: NERRA’s Estuary Hero

Sep 25, 2020 | Estuaries Week, Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, Reserves

Photo courtesy Narragansett Bay Reserve.

NERRA is proud to recognize the late Bob Stankelis as our estuary hero of 2020. As manager of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Reserve for more than 15 years, Bob left a legacy of people and places made better through his influence.

“Bob was inspired by a desire to make a difference,” says Rebecca Roth, NERRA’s executive director. “He left a career in rocket science to one focused on protecting the coastal places he cared about. Everyone who loves estuaries is in his debt.”

Under Bob’s guidance, the Narragansett Bay Reserve became a leader in salt marsh research and a living laboratory for environmental education.

“From conducting leading-edge seagrass science to enhancing the Reserve’s infrastructure and programs, Bob’s legacy is strong,” says Kenneth Raposa, the Reserve’s research coordinator. “His impact on Prudence Island and Narragansett Bay is a testament to his outstanding dedication to estuaries.”

Bob’s brought partners together to conserve more than 225 acres of land and ensure that 85 percent of Prudence Island will be protected in perpetuity.

“Bob understood that many people needed to come together to protect and restore our estuaries,” says Jen West, the Reserve’s coastal training program coordinator. “He brought us together and enhanced every process with his passion, knowledge, work ethic, empathy, and kindness.”

Bob was recently recognized with a posthumous lifetime achievement Environmental Merit Award by USEPA for his long career devoted to protecting the environment.

We miss you, Bob.

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