WJU Biology Professor Dr. Ben Stout Named One of 27 Visionaries by The Appalachian Voice WHEELING, W.Va., Feb. 21, 2014 --

WHEELING, W.Va., Feb. 21, 2014 -- Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU) Professor of Biology Dr. Ben Stout was named as one of 27 visionaries for being “dedicated to community-based research” by The Appalachian Voice.

The Appalachian Voice is a bi-monthly online news publication that is an award-winning, environmental non-profit committed to protecting the land, air and water of the central and southern Appalachian region, focusing on reducing coal’s impact on the region and advancing our vision for a cleaner energy future.

In the February issues, The Appalachian Voice celebrates engaged citizens, motivated visionaries and creative collaborations that enact the famous adage, attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, to “be the change you want to see in the world.”

“I am honored to be named one of these visionaries. My passion runs deep when it comes to these issues, and I firmly believe the people need quality information to make decisions that support community health and the environment,” said Stout.

Stout has been a professor at WJU since 1990. For more than 20 years, he has conducted his research outside of the lab and in local communities, testing water, listening to residents’ concerns, and publishing and testifying on his findings.

“I have known Ben since graduate school at Virginia Tech. Webster’s defines visionary as ‘having or showing clear ideas about what should happen or be done in the future.’ While Ben obviously has ideas about what should be done in the future he is more than just visionary. He acts on those ideas. He doesn’t just talk about it. Ben always had practical applications for science. He has always focused on how science can be used to make a difference,” said Dr. Lawrence Willis, regional monitoring coordinator with the Virginia department of environmental quality.

“It is easy to understand why Ben Stout was recently named one of the visionaries by the Appalachian Voice Online. I doubt that any single person has done more to raise awareness of the potential impacts of mining practices on headwater streams in the region. Unlike many academicians that share their findings only with peers, Ben has understood and embraced the socioeconomic and policy implications of his research for many years. His broad training as a scientist studying headwater streams provides credibility, while his natural passion for the preservation of these critical habitats provides inspiration to students, educators, scientists and anyone else that cares about rivers. Appalachia is fortunate to claim Ben Stout as one of their own,” said Will Clements, professor in the department of fish, wildlife and conservation biology at Colorado State University.

Stout has become well known for his research. In 2004, he met with residents in Mingo County, W.Va., who claimed their water was contaminated by the coal industry’s practice of injecting slurry from coal processing plants underground.

Keeping with his commitment to conduct community-based research, Stout and several students are currently working in western Pennsylvania, interpreting complex pre-drilling water reports. In exchange, residents can anonymously add information about their water quality to a database of pre-drilling water quality for the region. Stout said that data could allow researchers to paint a better picture of what well and stream water quality were like before drilling and more accurately assess contamination problems when they do occur.