The Bergen Highlands/Ramsey Rotary Club (bergenhighlandsrotary.org) recently welcomed Dr. Patricia Wright for an intriguing presentation on the lemurs of Madagascar.
Native only to the island of Madagascar and the neighboring Comoros Islands, lemurs resemble the oldest ancestors of primates which existed tens of millions of years ago. With a human population topping 14 million, the island’s natural ecosystems are becoming strained and Madagascar is faced with a diminishing rainforest habitat, home to so many unique forms of life. Efforts are underway to expand protected areas and bring much-needed money and awareness to the problem.
Dr. Patricia Wright is the Founder of Centre ValBio, a modern research campus in the rainforest of Madagascar. She is a Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University, and has devoted most of her professional life to working on Madagascar. For more than two decades, she has combined her research with efforts to preserve the country’s endangered forests and the many species of plants and animals they harbor.
In 1989, she became a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and in 1995 she was awarded the Chevalier d’ Ordre National (National Medal of Honor of Madagascar). In 2004 she was awarded the Officier d’ Ordre National from the President of Madagascar in recognition of her conservation work. Dr. Wright was the driving force behind the creation of Ranomafana National Park, a 106,000-acre World Heritage Site in southeastern Madagascar. The park is home to many endangered species, including several species of lemur that she almost certainly saved from extinction. For more information about Dr. Wright, including her blog and new book, please visit patriciawright.org.
L to r: Aaron lsaacson (Suffern), co-founder of the Madagascar Water Project; guest speaker Dr. Patricia Wright of the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments in Madagascar; and BH/R Rotary Club President Paul Scarduffa (Park Ridge) at a recent meeting of the Bergen Highlands/Ramsey Rotary Club.