Professor Honored for Seismic Safety Contributions

Tsunami expert Lori Dengler has just been named the recipient of the 2017 Frank Press Public Service Award for her “exceptional leadership as a scientist, writer, educator, communicator and advocate of tsunami research and preparedness,” according to a Humboldt State University announcement on Friday. Cal OES’s Kate Long says Lori is part of the Cal OES Earthquake and Tsunami Program through a contract with Humboldt State University (NTHMP-funded).  RCTWG is also one of the founding organizations making up the Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA); the cross-sector, cross-region networking coalition Cal OES organizes and supports; ECA/RCTWG is pivotal in grassroots organizing for tsunami awareness week and the great California shakeout. RCTWG has also served as the model by which other regional ECA Group’s have formed. CAL OES Eq/Tsu Program was also one the three organizations that nominated Lori for the Frank Press Award. Thank you to Kate for bringing this prestigious honor to our attention.



This is a reprinting of the original publishing by The Times-Standard; Posted: 05/13/17

Professor honored for seismic safety contributions

Local earthquake and tsunami expert Lori Dengler was named the recipient of the 2017 Frank Press Public Service Award for her “exceptional leadership as a scientist, writer, educator, communicator and advocate of tsunami research and preparedness,” according to a Humboldt State University announcement on Friday.

According to the Seismological Society of America, the Frank Press Public Service Award honors outstanding contributions to the advancement of public safety or public information relating to seismology.

“For more than 30 years, Dengler has been a tireless force in preparing coastal communities in California and around the world for tsunamis,” the society’s website states.

Dengler, an HSU professor emeritus of geology, has served as the director of the Humboldt Earthquake Education Center since 1986. In 1996, Dengler helped found the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group to bring together local, state, tribal, and federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations and businesses to reduce seismic risks along the North Coast.

According to HSU, Dengler’s preparedness guide “Living on Shaky Ground: How to Survive Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Northern California” has become a model for similar citizen guides throughout the state. Dengler received her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in geophysics at UC Berkeley. She has participated in field teams studying tsunamis in 1998 in Papua New Guinea, 2004 in Indonesia, 2010 Chile, and 2011 in Japan, and as a result was a coordinating co-author on the UNESCO-IOC’s International Post-Tsunami Survey Field Guide.

She also helped develop of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program and — as the scientific lead from California — authored the program’s initial Strategic Implementation Plan for Mitigation Projects. According to HSU, in 1996 Dengler received the California Emergency Services Association Gold Award for contributions to emergency services in the public sector; in 2002 she received the Richard Hagemeyer Tsunami Mitigation Award; and in 2009 she received the Alfred E. Alquist Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Earthquake Safety.

Dengler has received two awards from the Western States Seismic Policy Council: in 1998 for earthquake education outreach to schools and in 2009 for community outreach for the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group.

In 2015, Dengler co-authored “The Extraordinary Voyage of Kamome: A Tsunami Boat Comes Home,” a bilingual Japanese-English children’s book about a small fishing boat that was swept across the Pacific Ocean by the 2011 Japan tsunami and came ashore in Crescent City two years later. According to HSU, the book and a surrounding outreach project are the basis of a new school curriculum in California on earthquakes and tsunami preparedness.

“California’s level of preparedness for earthquakes and tsunamis, particularly along the north coast that is part of Cascadia, is very much due to [Dengler’s] efforts to bring the science to the public, the local, regional, tribal, state and federal officials who must make and support preparations, and the emergency managers who have to deal with the effects of earthquakes and tsunamis,” Peggy Hellweg, operations manager at the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, said in a statement.

According to its website, the Seismological Society of America is a scientific society that was founded in 1906 in San Francisco and has members throughout the world representing different of technical interests, such as geophysicists, geologists, engineers, insurers, and policy-makers.

The society’s other award recipients this year are all employed by the U.S. Geological Society, and include Harry Fielding Reid Medal winner George Plafker; Charles F. Richter Early Career Award winner Annemarie Baltay; and Distinguished Service Award winner Keith Knudsen. Dengler is set to receive her award at Seismology of the Americas — a joint meeting of the Seismological Society of America and the Latin and Caribbean Seismological Commission — in San Juan, Puerto Rico next year.

Featured Image Above: Author and Humboldt State University professor Lori Dengler, left, reads from the book “The Extraordinary Voyage of Kamome” along with the book’s illustrator Amy Uyeki. Humboldt State University — Contributed

Shawn Boyd

Shawn Boyd joined Cal OES as a public information officer in 2014 after a 20-year career in television news as a reporter, anchor and executive producer. He's a Cal State Sacramento alum and former US Navy yeoman and Air Force brat.

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