UCSD professor wins ecology award

David Western, an adjunct professor of biology at UCSD and the founding executive director of African Conservation Centre in Kenya, will receive the 2010 World Ecology Award.

The award is given annually by the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis “to an eminent individual who has raised public awareness about global ecology and made significant contributions to environmental protection and biodiversity conservation.”

Past recipients of the prestigious award include Jane Goodall, Harrison Ford, Richard Leakey, Teresa Heinz, Ted Turner, Peter Raven, Jacques Cousteau and John Denver.

Western will formally receive his award, an engraved medal, during a gala dinner at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis on May 7.

Raised in Tanzania and now a Kenyan citizen, Western spent more than 43 years engaged in research in Kenya studying the interactions between livestock, wildlife and humans, with the aim of developing conservation strategies applicable at an ecosystem scale.

As former director of the Kenya Wildlife Service and conservation director for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Western has been active in many areas of conservation, including community-based conservation, international programs, conservation planning, eco-tourism, training, directing governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and public education.

He is an adjunct professor of biology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis as well as at UCSD.