Sarah White

Sarah White (middle)

Clemson — The Southern Nursery Association Environmental Leadership Award was established in 1999 that recognizes individuals and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and through their voluntary efforts exemplified inspiration, vision, innovation, leadership and action to preserve and protect the environment. Clemson professor Sarah White was presented with this award in Baltimore, Maryland this past January for her contributions to environmental protection and conservation research.

White has been affiliated with the SNA since she was an undergraduate student studying Horticulture at Clemson, and has been an active contributor to their annual research conference since 1999.

In order to receive the Environmental Leadership Award, the individual must be nominated by a fellow colleague.

“I was actually nominated by Matthew Chappell, one of my colleagues who works at the University of Georgia. The nomination was for my work with technologies to protect and clean water,” White said.

White’s work largely focuses on water protection and conservation as well as the use of plant-based systems to provide clean water.

“Since I was a graduate student at Virginia Tech, my work has focused on how we can, as the green industry, can work to protect the environment,” she said. “My focus is on water; how we can protect it, use it more wisely and clean it once it has been used.”

This award recognizes people who have made important contributions to environmental studies throughout their career in horticulture, making this award even more special for White.

“The beauty of this award is that they are recognizing my actual contribution to my field over my entire career. This is highly flattering. It means a lot to have my stakeholders recognize and acknowledge that my work has actually made a difference, especially since I love what I do,” White said.

White also received her PhD in Environmental Toxicology from Clemson, and said that she is happy to give back to the university that helped prepare her for the career.

“Without the education that I received at Clemson University, I don’t know if I would be doing the same thing that I am now,” said White. I think Clemson certainly contributed to where I am in my career and being qualified for this award.”

She is Clemson University’s second recipient of the SNA Environmental Leadership Award. Ted Whitwell, Interim Director and Professor Emeritus for the Coastal Research and Education Center won the award in 2001.

This is not the first time White has been recognized for her research on water management systems. She was one of four researchers who received the Multistate Research Award last year for their collaboration with 21 other scientists in helping commercial greenhouses and nurseries manage their water usage.