William H. Schlesinger, Dartmouth Class of 1972, is the 2010 recipient of the Sustained Achievement Award given by the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation (RNRF), a consortium of scientific, professional, and educational organizations that promotes the application of sound scientific practices in resource management and conservation. Given annually, the award recognizes long-term contributions and commitment to the protection and conservation of natural resources by an individual. RNRF Chairman Barry Starke observed, “Schlesinger’s dedication to using science to advance conservation made him stand out as a great representative of RNRF’s mission.”
A biology major at Dartmouth, Schlesinger says “Dartmouth was the perfect place to foster the interest in natural history that I had developed in high school. Whether it was with Professor Bill Reiners’ classes in biology or a diversity of activities with the Dartmouth Outing Club, there was always a way to be involved with the natural environment.”
Andrew Friedland, the Richard and Jane Pearl Professor in Environmental Studies and chair of Dartmouth’s environmental studies program, notes, “There has been a continuous presence of energetic faculty in ecology and environmental science at Dartmouth that mixes enthusiasm for fieldwork and lab work with theory and practice. It is remarkable how many prominent scientists across the country have a Dartmouth biology and/or environmental studies degree.” In addition to Schlesinger, that group includes Ian Baldwin ’80 of the Max Planck Institute of Chemical Ecology; Stephen Pacala ’78, the Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University and director of the Princeton Environmental Institute; Scott Robinson ’77 of the University of Florida; and Timothy Fahey ’74 of Cornell University.
Schlesinger, who holds a PhD from Cornell, is the president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, a private, nonprofit environmental research and education organization in Millbrook, N.Y. He has previously served as dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.