Thomas B. Lewis Honored as the 2011 Winner of The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore’s Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is pleased to announce the 2011 Winner of The Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation, Mr. Thomas B. Lewis.  The Hankin Award will be presented tonight at The Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Membership Meeting & Business Hall of Fame Awards Dinner.

The Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation, named for former Chairman of the Zoo’s Board of Trustees Mike Hankin, was created by The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in 2005 to recognize individuals who epitomize the legacy of conservation, volunteerism, and philanthropy.

“We are so honored to present this award to Tom, stated Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.  “His professional and personal commitment to preservation of the environment has spanned three decades, and he has devoted a significant amount of his time to Chesapeake Bay issues, specifically those involving watermen and the island communities where they live and work.”

As counsel to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Lewis served on the state’s Coastal Zone Advisory Commission, Power Plant Siting Commission and the University of Maryland’s Sea Grant Advisory Committee. He taught courses on Environmental Law and Coastal Law at the Maryland Law School, Johns Hopkins’ School of Public Health, and the University of Delaware, College of Marine Studies. His work as a consultant was instrumental in the establishment of the Chesapeake Bay Commission.

Lewis is an avid kayaker and as such has spent a large amount of time on Smith and Tangier Islands, seeing firsthand the challenges faced by the watermen. For 30 years he and his firm, Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP, have served as counsel for the Smith Island watermen and have won two constitutional lawsuits challenging the state residency requirement for crabbing, allowing watermen to travel from Maryland to Virginia waters to support their livelihoods.

Lewis was appointed as Chairman of the Maryland Task Force on Fishery Management by Governor Martin O’Malley in 2007 and singled out for special praise.  He serves on the board of the Chesapeake Bay Journal.  His passion for, and devotion to, the Chesapeake Bay has greatly benefited state-wide fisheries resources and, most importantly, those who depend on the Bay for their livelihoods.

The first annual Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation was awarded in 2005 to Michael Hankin.  It has only been awarded three times since until tonight; in 2006 to H. Turney McKnight, in 2007 to Dr. Torrey C. Brown and in 2010 to D. Keith Campbell.

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