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For Immediate Release, December 20, 2012

Contact: Kierán Suckling, (520) 275-5960

First Annual E.O. Wilson Award for Outstanding Science in Biodiversity Conservation
Presented to Nevada's James Deacon

TUCSON, Ariz. The Center for Biological Diversity today presented the first annual E.O. Wilson Award for Outstanding Science in Biodiversity Conservation to James Deacon, distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Over the course of his 52-year career, Deacon has focused on conservation of desert fish and other freshwater species and on sustainable water-use advocacy in the Southwest. His work contributed to the protection of several threatened and endangered aquatic species, helped secure water rights for Death Valley and Zion national parks, and helped create Ash Meadows and Moapa national wildlife refuges in Nevada.

E.O. Wilson award
E.O. Wilson award. Sculpture by Anne Bujold. Photo by Tierra Curry. Photos are available for media use.

“Dr. Deacon’s relentless commitment to preserving life in some of its rarest forms, and to conserving the limited resources that sustain us all, makes it a great honor to recognize his life’s work with this award,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center. “His remarkable career exemplifies the leadership role scientists must take in helping us to better understand and protect the biodiversity of our planet.”

The award will be presented annually to a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution to biodiversity conservation. It is named after renowned scientist Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University, known as “the father of biodiversity.” Wilson is considered to be the world’s leading authority on ants; his career has focused on promoting worldwide understanding of the importance of biodiversity and the preservation of our biological heritage.

“I'm very happy to congratulate Dr. James E. Deacon on his award, and more to thank him, as I know many others do, for his distinguished research on some of Earth's most threatened ecosystems,” said Wilson.

The award consists of a hand-crafted ant sculpture by artist Anne Bujold and a $1,000 cash prize.

Deacon has published more than 90 scientific articles focused on the ecology and conservation biology of desert fish and other imperiled aquatic species. He has served as an expert witness in state and federal water-rights litigation, and has been involved in development of recommendations for water-quality standards and flow criteria essential to maintenance of ecosystem health and biodiversity. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Kansas in 1960 and immediately joined the University of Nevada Las Vegas faculty, where he helped create the university’s bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. programs in biology and environmental studies. He has served as chair in both departments and continues his research and advocacy work with projects in Death Valley, Devils Hole and the eastern/central Nevada water project.

The award’s sculptor, Anne Bujold, is the owner of Riveted Rabbit Studio in Portland, Ore., where she creates sculpture and custom functional objects. She graduated from the Oregon College of Art and Craft and works primarily in mild steel, blending traditional craft techniques with modern processes to produce unique objects.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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