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Harvard Museum of Natural History announces Russell Mittermeier as the 2009 Roger Tory Peterson Medal Recipient and Guest Speaker on Sunday, April 5th at 3:00 p.m.

(Cambridge, MA) Russell Mittermeier, renowned wildlife biologist and president of Conservation International has been selected to receive the 12th annual Roger Tory Peterson Medal presented by the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Dr. Mittermeier will deliver the Roger Tory Peterson Memorial Lecture on Sunday, April 5th, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. in the Harvard University Science Center, One Oxford Street, Cambridge.  

In his lecture, entitled “Conserving the World's Biodiversity: How the Climate Crisis Could Both Hurt and Help”, Mittermeier will discuss the major extinction crisis facing this planet, as well as the management and conservation strategies which still give him hope for the future. Though clearly a major threat, climate change may present us with an opportunity to protect and invest in some of the world's highest priority "biodiversity hotspots" at a level far beyond anyone previously thought possible.  

The Harvard Museum of Natural History inaugurated the Roger Tory Peterson Memorial Lecture in 1997 to keep alive the memory of the pioneering naturalist and author of the legendary Peterson Field Guide to Birds. This annual event celebrates and perpetuates Roger Tory Peterson’s tireless efforts to conserve the planet’s biological diversity. Past recipients of the medal have included E.O. Wilson, Jared M. Diamond, Paul R. Ehrlich, Bruce Babbitt, Richard Leakey, Peter Matthiessen, David Attenborough, Roger Bateman, David Suzuki, Jane Goodall and Jeremy Jackson.  

Admission to the Roger Tory Peterson Memorial Lecture is $6 for the general public, $4 for Harvard ID holders. Advance tickets are required. Tickets will be available from the Harvard Box Office (617.496.2222) beginning on March 17th.

Both the Harvard Science Center and the Harvard Museum of Natural History are wheelchair accessible.

Dr. Russell Mittermeier
Renowned for his work in developing criteria for biodiversity ‘hotspots’ as a conservation priority, Mittermeier has served as president of Conservation International since 1989. He is considered an expert on such topics as biological diversity and its value to humanity, ecosystem conservation, tropical biology and species conservation. In addition to his work at Conservation International, he has served as Chairman of the IUCN-World Conservation Species Survival Commission's Primate Specialist Group since 1977, and as the Chairman of the World Bank’s Task Force of Biological Diversity in 1988 and 1989.  Prior to coming to Conservation International, he was Vice President for Science at the World Wildlife Fund.

Mittermeier has conducted fieldwork for over 30 years on three continents and in more than 20 countries, primarily in the tropics of Brazil, Suriname and Madagascar. His fieldwork has focused on primates, protected areas, and other conservation issues.

Mittermeier has formally discovered several monkey species. He was honored for his work in Madagascar in 2006 with the naming of a newly discovered species of mouse lemur.  He has authored over 225 papers and eight books, including Lemurs of Madagascar, a comprehensive field guide to Madagascar’s flagship species.

Mittermeier received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1971 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Biological Anthropology in 1977.

Harvard Museum of Natural History
With a mission to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the human place in it, the Harvard Museum of Natural History draws on the University’s collections and research to present a historic and interdisciplinary exploration of science and nature. More than 165,000 visitors annually make it the University’s most-visited museum.

Open daily, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is located at 26 Oxford Street, a short walk from the MBTA Red Line Harvard Square station. For information, please call 617.495.3045 or visit the museum’s Plan your visit page.

For more information, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , Director of Communications, at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, 617.496.0049.


The 2009 Roger Tory Peterson Memorial Lecture press release is available for download in pdf format.