J. Drew Lanham, a Clemson University ornithologist who has worked to make conservation science more compelling, relevant and inclusive, is the 2020 recipient of the Center for Biological Diversity’s annual E.O. Wilson Award for Outstanding Science in Biodiversity Conservation.

“I congratulate Dr. Lanham and thank him for his work to blend science, art, and racial justice to advance biodiversity protection,” said E.O. Wilson, the award’s namesake. “His work to make conservation more understandable and inclusive is critical to ending the extinction crisis.”

A renowned birder, Lanham uses speaking and writing about birding as an inspirational vehicle for connecting people to the outdoors. He has spent decades writing and speaking about the experience of Black birders and has authored numerous essays on the connections between racism and extinction, continually working to make conservation more inclusive.  His latest essay, “A Black Birder’s Ramble Through the Thicket of Opinion on Social Movement and Bird Conservation” can be found here.

Lanham is a distinguished professor and master teacher of wildlife ecology at Clemson, where he’s taught courses in woodland ecology, conservation biology, forest biodiversity, wildlife policy, and conservation ornithology and nature writing for 25 years. He is the poet laureate of Edgefield County, South Carolina.