UMSL to honor Prince Albert II of Monaco for his environmental work

Prince Albert II

Prince Albert II of Monaco will receive the World Ecology Award from the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at UMSL at a gala dinner Sept. 22 at the Missouri Botanical Garden. (Photo by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation)

Prince Albert II of Monaco has been in the media spotlight since birth, but it’s likely a lot of people are not aware of his tireless work protecting the environment.

The Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis has taken notice of his support of conservation issues and named him the 2013 recipient of the World Ecology Award. Prince Albert will receive the honor at a gala dinner Sept. 22 at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Tickets cost $250. For more ticket information contact 314-516-5442.

The event will include remarks by UMSL Chancellor Tom George. Robert Marquis, professor of biology at UMSL and director of the Harris Center, will represent the center and describe its goals and accomplishments. Hal Kroeger, a community activist and longtime supporter of the Harris Center and co-chair of this year’s event, will introduce the prince and present him with the award’s accompanying medallion.

In 2006, Prince Albert founded the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which encourages sustainable and fair management of natural resources. It supports the implementation of innovative and ethical solutions in three broad areas: climate change, water and biodiversity. His foundation has given millions of dollars to environmental and conservation-oriented charities. In particular, the foundation has worked for better water resource management and in 2008 it began an effort to save the endangered Bluefin Tuna.

The World Ecology Award is given annually by the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at UMSL in partnership with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Saint Louis Zoo. Prince Albert will be the 20th recipient to receive the honor.

Since 1990 the center has presented the World Ecology Award to individuals who have raised public awareness of global ecological issues and made significant contributions to environmental protection and biodiversity conservation.

John Denver was the first recipient 23 years ago and in the ensuing years many household names, including Jane Goodall, Harrison Ford, Jacques Cousteau and Teresa Heinz, have come to the Botanical Gardens to receive the honor.

In addition to bringing public attention to ecological issues, the World Ecology Award serves as a key fundraising tool for the center through donations and ticket sales to the ceremony. Leading up to this year’s ceremony, the last few months alone have seen the center raise $65,000 solely through solicitations. According to Marquis, the center’s total endowment has gone all the way from $16,000 to $5 million in just the last 16 years. Much of that money goes to support research done by graduate and undergraduate students in UMSL’s biology program, including the well-publicized fieldwork in the Galapagos Islands. Currently, UMSL biology students are conducting or have recently completed conservation or ecology research on five continents.

Marquis says that Prince Albert II is an ideal recipient for this year’s award.

“He has a foundation and has a choice where to spend his money,” said Marquis. “He could spend it all on flashy cars but he decided as a world leader and as someone who has the funds that he would support conservation issues. We’re rewarding him for doing that. We are greatly appreciative of his efforts.”

About Prince Albert II of Monaco

Among his many achievements, Prince Albert in April 2006 visited the North Pole by dog sled from the Russian base of Barneo, a trip of about 75 miles. He made the trip to draw public attention to the consequences of global warming, particularly in the North Pole. In January 2009 he undertook a three-week scientific expedition to Antarctica where he visited 26 scientific outposts and met with climate change experts. During the trip he stopped at the South Pole. Also in 2009, he was awarded the Roger Revelle Prize from Scripps Institution of Oceanography for his efforts to protect the environment and promote scientific research. He was also named International Patron of the “Year of the Dolphin” for protecting marine biodiversity and is the founder of Monaco’s Jardin Animalier, a zoo that has begun to return animals to the wild.

About the World Ecology Award

The World Ecology Award is presented by the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at UMSL. The award recognizes eminent individuals who have raised public awareness of global ecological issues and made significant contributions to environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. Past recipients include: John Denver, Jacques Cousteau, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, Dr. Paul Ehrlich, Costa Rican President José María Figueres, Dr. Richard Leakey, Jane Goodall, Ted Turner, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Harrison Ford, Conservation International, Teresa Heinz, HRH The Prince of Wales, the Rockefeller Family, Kathryn Fuller, Peter Raven, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, David (Jonah) Western and Howard Buffet.


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