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Reception Honors UW Research Center Director Harlow

August 12, 2013
Man and woman standing in front of mountain
Hank and Mary Ann Harlow at the AMK Ranch. (UW Photo)

Every summer morning for more than two decades, Hank and Mary Ann Harlow have gone to work in one of the world’s most beautiful environments -- the University of Wyoming-National Park Service Research Center in Grand Teton National Park.

Hank, who will retire as the center’s director at the end of this year’s research season, and Mary Ann will be honored at a barbecue at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15 at the center, located at the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park. The event is open to the public.

The station has thrived under the care of Hank, a longtime UW zoology professor, and Mary Ann, a UW reference librarian. The historic structures are cleaned and tended, and researchers are greeted and assured of clean quarters and a warm shower. Hank takes time to talk with classes about research techniques, and seminar speakers are carefully selected to provide the public with engaging information about current events in the parks and beyond.

At any given time during the summer, the research center serves as a base for 50 to 60 scientists. UW researchers in a variety of fields -- including earth sciences and social sciences -- use the center regularly. Others, from all over the world, come as well to conduct research in the pristine aquatic and terrestrial environments of the greater Yellowstone area.

The center provides housing, laboratory space, equipment and transportation for visiting scientists. Hank and the summer staff often are found helping the researchers directly, setting traps, marking eaglets and driving crews across the lake to research sites.

A member of UW’s faculty since 1981, Harlow has been honored numerous times for teaching and research excellence, including the 2012 George Duke Humphrey Distinguished Faculty Award -- UW’s highest faculty honor. He is respected internationally for his work on bears -- polar bears being the most recent -- komodo dragons and the effects of hibernation.

His teaching is intense and passionate; many students say “‘it was the hardest class I have ever taken” and, in the next breath, say “but the best one.”

Hank says will be able to continue work on projects that he has set aside to devote time to the station, including work on the komodo dragons.

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