2023 Andrea Lawrence Award honors Dave Marquart

Community members and friends and family of Andrea Mead Lawrence gathered at Mammoth Mountain’s Parallax Restaurant in early May to present Dave Marquart, retired Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve ranger, with the 2023 Andrea Lawrence Award. Andrea was a visionary environmental leader, an Olympic double gold medalist, and a mother of five, who tirelessly pursued a principled vision of how ecological integrity, economy, and community can thrive in a way that preserves the vitality of each and enhances the whole. The Andrea Lawrence Award honors those who carry on her legacy of environmental conservation.

Dave Marquart is a revered member of the Mono Basin community. Throughout his 36-year career as a State Park ranger he served as a dedicated steward to the lands of the State Natural Reserve and shared his passion for this place with three decades of visitors. Through his interpretive tours at South Tufa, birding walks, and work with local school children, Dave inspired the next generation of Mono Lake advocates and bird enthusiasts.

Dave worked for the Reserve since its creation, starting as a volunteer in 1982. Dave’s influence in the Mono Basin is felt by locals and visitors alike. He worked tirelessly to keep the Mono Basin’s State Park lands open and accessible when budget cuts threatened to close parks, and he trained many interpretive guides from a variety of agencies, including our own interns at the Mono Lake Committee. If you have ever joined a guided walk at South Tufa, then you have likely been led to the shore of Mono Lake by someone Dave taught, if not Dave himself.

While tours are a great way to get to know the Mono Basin, there is something just as impactful about exploring the vast and mysterious lands in the less visited corners of the basin. As a State Park ranger, Dave was critical in managing these less frequently visited areas of the State Natural Reserve to preserve that rare sense of wonder that exists in this remote and starkly beautiful place.

Dave continues to be involved in Mono Basin stewardship as a Mono Lake Volunteer, a board member for the DeChambeau Creek Foundation, and a key organizer for the annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. He continues to instruct Mono Lake Committee, State Park, Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, and Forest Service staff in the art of natural history interpretation. Even in retirement Dave embodies the spirit of collaboration, working in synchrony with the many agencies in the Mono Basin to achieve the best outcomes for protecting and sharing this spectacular place.

The 12th annual Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner would not have been possible without the generous support of the Lawrence family and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Thank you also to our guests; speakers Janet and Dave Carle, Margaret Eissler, and Karen and Bob Gardner; and to this year’s award recipient, Dave Marquart, for his inspiring and transformational work. Proceeds from the event support the Andrea Lawrence Fund to encourage collaboration and to inspire youth to become environmental leaders.

Andrea Lawrence Award recipient Dave Marquart, third from left, was honored by family, friends, and colleagues for his 36 years as a State Park ranger at the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

This post was also published as an article in the Summer 2023 Mono Lake Newsletter. Top photo by Elin Ljung.