University of Central Florida professor emeritus Llewellyn Ehrhart was honored this week for work to help conserve Florida’s sea turtles.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service presented Ehrhart with a Regional Director’s Honor Award during a ceremony in Atlanta on Oct. 30.

“Recognizing the excellence of partners, volunteers and employees is one way we can say thank you to those who practice what we like to call ‘Southern-style conservation,’” regional director Cindy Dohner said in a press release. “Every day they demonstrate their long-term commitment to working together to sustain fish and wildlife for future generations. We are indebted to them.”

Ehrhart has conducted more than 30 years of research on sea turtle beach nesting productivity, which has helped the Wildlife Service and the State of Florida understand the turtle population status and trends. His work also led to selecting the location for Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge on Florida’s east coast, the most densely nested beach habitat for loggerheads in the western hemisphere, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

During that time, Ehrhart has seen the number of sea turtles grow. For example, in the 1980s he counted no more than 50 green sea turtle nests along the Archie Carr beaches during the entire nesting season. This year, 11,893 nests were counted – a record for the refuge.

Among the many accolades he has received are: Pegasus Professor, UCF’s highest faculty honor; the Archie Carr Lifetime Achievement Award; the Carnegie Florida Professor of the Year, and the International Sea Turtle Society Lifetime Achievement Award. His work also has been featured on PBS and the New York Times among other outlets.