Washington, DC

Defenders of Wildlife has awarded Dr. Leah Gerber, one of the world’s leading conservation scientists, with its Spirit of Defenders Award for Science. 

“We are delighted to present Dr. Gerber this award for her tireless work advocating for the relevance of science in environmental policy and wildlife conservation, and for truly making a difference for species,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. 

Dr. Leah Gerber Award

Gerber is a professor and founding director of the Center for Biodiversity at Arizona State University, a lead author of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Committee. Her recent work includes using endangered species data to assess pesticide exposure risk and estimating the economic, social and ecological costs of plastic pollution. Dr. Gerber has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and makes regular appearances in the media, communicating the importance of using science to tackle complex environmental challenges. She is also one of Defenders of Wildlife’s science advisors. 

Gerber joins renowned awardees such as Dr. Tom Lovejoy, known as the “godfather of biodiversity;” Dr. Steven Monfort, former director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and National Zoo; Dr. Barry Noon, former Chief Scientist for the National Biological Service and a current professor in the Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology department at Colorado State University; Dr. Tom Sisk, an environmental scientist focused on landscape restoration; and Dr. Terry Root, a lead author for the Third (2001) and Fourth (2007) Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change and a Review Editor for the Fifth (2014) Assessment Report, among others. Both Dr. Sisk and Dr. Root also served on Defenders of Wildlife’s board of directors. 

For over 75 years, Defenders of Wildlife has remained dedicated to protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife for generations to come. To learn more, please visit https://defenders.org/newsroom or follow us on X @Defenders.



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