Three Colorado State University scientists, the most of any university in the nation, have been selected as Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellows for 2004.
N. Thompson Hobbs, senior research scientist for the Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory; Barry Noon, professor for the department of fishery and wildlife biology; and N. LeRoy Poff, associate professor for the department of biology are three of only 20 academic environmental scientists from the United States to be named as this year’s fellows.
Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowships provide scientists with intensive communications and leadership training to help them communicate scientific information effectively to non-scientific audiences, especially policy makers, the media, business leaders and the public.
"I hope to become a more articulate spokesperson for the application of ecological understanding to pressing environmental problems," Poff said. "One of my goals is to better help non-scientists understand how human actions influence the health and resilience of the natural ecosystems that we as a society rely on for so many goods and services."
The fellows are selected through a competitive application process. Fellows have outstanding scientific qualifications, demonstrated leadership ability and a strong interest in communicating science beyond traditional academic audiences.
The 2004 fellows represent a broad range of environmental science disciplines, including environmental engineering, wildlife veterinary medicine, tropical forestry, marine ecology and environmental economics.
"We are absolutely thrilled with the 2004 cohort of Leopold Leadership Fellows," said Jane Lubchenco, distinguished professor of zoology at Oregon State University who co-founded the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program and co-chairs the steering committee. "As individuals, each is outstanding in his or her field, and as a group, they provide a wonderful mix of disciplines and potential for new and interesting collaborations. They will learn a lot in the training sessions, but they also have a lot to offer each other and to the Leopold Leadership Program."
The Aldo Leopold Leadership Program was launched in 1998 with the goal of improving the flow of accurate, credible scientific information to policy makers, the media and the public by training outstanding academic environmental scientists to be better communicators of complex scientific information.
"I am excited to improve my ability to communicate my science to the citizens who sponsor it," said Hobbs.
"The training provided by the Leopold Fellowship will enable me to better articulate the role of science and scientists in informing land use policy," said Noon. "At a time when human-induced changes to the environment are unprecedented, the responsibility of scientists to increase the public’s understanding of our relationship with the natural world has never been greater."
The program is named for Aldo Leopold, a renowned environmental scientist who communicated his scientific knowledge simply and eloquently. His writings, including his 1949 book, "A Sand County Almanac," are credited with infusing the emerging conservation movement with good science and a stewardship ethic.
For more information about the program, visit www.leopoldleadership.org.