Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 30, 2016

Contact: Tierra Curry, (928) 522-3681,

Monarch Butterfly Expert Lincoln Brower to Be Honored Friday With E.O. Wilson Award

4th Annual Award Presented for Lifetime of Monarch Study, Advocacy

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity on Friday, Dec. 2 will present its fourth annual E.O. Wilson Award for Outstanding Science in Biodiversity Conservation to Dr. Lincoln Brower, for his six decades of work studying and protecting monarch butterflies.

E.O. Wilson Award
E.O. Wilson Award. Photos are available for media use.

“We’re delighted to present this award to Dr. Brower for his outspoken love for, and life’s work to protect, the monarch butterfly,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center. “His willingness to cross the line from scientist to advocate, which many scientists still shy away from, sets an example of the critical role scientists must now play in confronting the extinction crisis.”

“Thanks to Dr. Brower’s remarkable body of research, we not only have a deeper understanding of the monarch’s magical annual journey across North America, but a much better shot at safeguarding it for future generations,” said E.O. Wilson, the award’s namesake.

The award ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. at Sweet Briar College in Virginia.

Brower has spent nearly 60 years studying the monarch butterfly and its multigenerational migration across the continent each year. He has been an author on more than 200 scientific papers and has tirelessly worked to educate the public about monarchs and to promote their conservation. Since 1997 Brower has been a biology professor at Sweet Briar College, one of the nation’s earliest women’s colleges.

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

The monarch butterfly, once common across the country, has become the symbol for imperiled pollinators facing extreme population declines. In 2014 Brower joined the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in submitting a scientific petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for the monarch. The petition came in response to a precipitous two-decade decline in monarchs driven by loss of millions of acres of summer breeding habitat in farm fields in the United States due to herbicide-intensive agriculture, as well as the loss of forested overwintering habitat in Mexico to illegal logging. The Service must decide by 2019 whether to protect the monarch as a threatened species.

The E.O Wilson Award consists of a handcrafted metal ant sculpture by Anne Bujold of Riveted Rabbit Studio in Richmond, Va., along with a $1,000 cash prize.

The three previous recipients of the award were Aradhna Tripati, for her groundbreaking work on climate change; Tyrone Hayes, for his work to protect people and wildlife, particularly amphibians, from pesticides; and the late James Deacon, for his advocacy for sustainable water use and the protection of freshwater desert species.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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