J. Drew Lanham, the Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University in South Carolina, will receive this year’s Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership from the National Audubon Society. The award is presented to individuals who have dedicated their lives to the environment and conservation.
Dr. Lanham is honored for his tireless advocacy to protect birds and build a new generation of conservation leaders. During his two decades at Clemson, Dr. Lanham has worked to understand the impact of forest management on birds and wildlife, as well as how humans interact with nature. He was recently appointed as Provost Distinguished Professor and also serves as a master teacher and certified wildlife biologist in Clemson’s forestry and environmental conservation department. He also serves as chair of the advisory board for Audubon South Carolina. Additionally, he is the author of the award-winning book, The Home Place-Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature (Milkweed Editions, 2016).
“I want it to be a momentum to get more done, not just for birds, but for bridging this whole conservation conversation that I’m always talking about, I think it validates that work,” Dr. Lanham said of his award. “I want that validation to be motivation and inspiration, not just for me, but for others to understand that. I mean, I’m pretty different in this field, in part because of what I studied in the way the culture blends with conservation, but I also happen to be a Black man doing it, a Southerner doing it. I think it’s important for people to understand that sort of difference makes a difference. That being different in the field means that you can make a difference in different ways.”
Dr. Lanham holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology, a master’s degree in zoology, and a Ph.D in forest resources all from Clemson University.