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Published October 30, 2019
A scientist and an educator who have enhanced the knowledge and conservation of biological diversity in Wyoming will receive lifetime achievement awards from the University of Wyoming’s Biodiversity Institute.
The lifetime work of Dennis Knight and Duane Keown will be honored at an award ceremony Friday, Nov. 8, at the UW Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center.
Brent Ewers, director of the UW Biodiversity Institute, along with representatives of the award winners’ nominating committees and members of the community, will distribute the awards to Knight and Keown at 6 p.m. The award ceremony, expected to last until 7 p.m., is open to the public. A meet and greet at 5:30 p.m. and a reception following the ceremony will be in the Berry Center.
“We welcome anyone who has been touched by Dennis’ or Duane’s work to attend the ceremony,” Ewers says. “These two individuals are cornerstones to biodiversity science and conservation, and showing your support and appreciation will make the award ceremony an even more special experience.”
Knight will receive the Contributions to Biodiversity Science Award, which acknowledges his achievements in the field of vegetation ecology. Knight’s research laid the foundation for the understanding of Wyoming’s ecology and biological diversity; his insightful analyses and discoveries in plant ecology, set forth in scientific papers and reports for managers and state agencies, have enabled prudent and informed management of the state’s natural resources for many decades.
His discoveries and syntheses were made available to a broad audience through his 1994 book, “Mountains and Plains,” revised and expanded in 2014 with additional authors. In addition, Knight inspired and mentored a generation of students to become leaders in research and management of the state’s rich biological heritage.
Keown is the recipient of the Contributions to Biodiversity Conservation Award, for his commitment to conservation education in Wyoming. Keown devoted much of his professional career to developing, piloting and revising effective educational strategies to prepare young citizens to make prudent, informed decisions about the future use and management of natural resources.
During his tenure as director of the Wyoming Conservation Center, Keown spearheaded the development of the aptly titled “Wild, Wonderful Wyoming: Choices for the Future” curriculum materials to make conservation education accessible to all K-12 classrooms. The teacher participants, who, in turn, have passed on their knowledge to their students, have multiplied the impact of Keown’s work many times to reach thousands of students across Wyoming.
“We are excited to honor Dennis Knight and Duane Keown with the Contributions to Biodiversity Science and Conservation Awards,” Ewers says. “Their research, mentorship and publications have changed the way biodiversity conservation is understood within Wyoming, and well beyond.”
The Biodiversity Science and Conservation Awards were created in 2013 to publicly thank individuals who have dedicated their lives to increasing public and professional understanding, appreciation and conservation of biological diversity in Wyoming. They are distributed in odd-number years.
Previous winners of the Contributions to Biodiversity Science Award are Bob and Jane Dorn (2013), Wayne Hubert (2015) and Ron Hartman (2017). Previous winners of the Contributions to Biodiversity Conservation Award are Chris Madsen (2013), Richard Baldes (2015), and Fred and Stephanie Lindzey (2017).
The UW Biodiversity Institute works to foster the understanding, appreciation and conservation of biological diversity through innovative research, education and outreach, and by engaging a broad audience in the scientific process. In this setting, scientists and citizens, students and educators come together to share a wealth of perspectives on the study and appreciation of biodiversity -- from microbes to poetry and ecosystems to economics.
For more information about the Biodiversity Institute and the Biodiversity Science and Conservation Awards, visit www.wyobiodiversity.org.