TheTurtleRoom Presents First Annual ChelEd Award
This post has been updated on 2/26/2020.
TheTurtleRoom is proud to announce the first ChelEd Award for Lifetime Achievement in Chelonian Education. One of theTurtleRoom’s core beliefs is that all conservation begins with education. This award was created to recognize individuals who share that belief and have lived their lives by that belief.
The inaugural recipient of the award is Dr. Peter C. H. Pritchard in recognition of his decades of research and, most importantly, sharing of that research with the world through writing countless articles, papers, and books – many of which are celebrated works. Dr. Pritchard was presented with the award privately during a visit to his Chelonian Research Institute by theTurtleRoom’s Anthony Pierlioni.
About Dr. Pritchard
Dr. Pritchard is known as the “Utmost Authority” on the biology and conservation of turtles and tortoises and has shaped the field for all to come after. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in biochemistry and chemistry from Oxford University and received his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Florida.
A student of the inspirational Dr. Archie Carr, Dr. Pritchard has himself gone onto influence generations of other turtle and tortoise lovers, including all of theTurtleRoom’s staff. Throughout his career, Dr. Pritchard has done considerable field work with turtles on all continents they exist as well as many remote islands. Among the highlights of his work is the establishment of a permanent field station in Northwestern Guyana. Three species of chelonians have been named for him, including a snake-necked turtle, a pond turtle, and a giant side-neck turtle known from fossils.
Among his writing credits are seven books: Living Turtles of the World (1967), Marine Turtles of Micronesia (1977), the iconic Encyclopedia of Turtles (1979), Turtles of Venezuela (1984), The Alligator Snapping Turtle (1990, 2006), Galapagos Tortoises: Nomenclatural and Survival Status (1996), Cleopatra the Turtle Girl (2006), his memoire Tales of the Thébaide (2007), and finally Rafetus: The Curve of Extinction (2012). Also in 2007, he translated Turtles of the World (Bonin, Devaux, and Dupré) from French to English.
In 1998, Dr. Pritchard established the Chelonian Research Institute, which features a research facility, library, offices, museum, residence for visiting scientists, and a sanctuary. The institute holds more than 13,000 catalogued specimens – the world’s third largest turtle and tortoise museum collection – including 270 of the world’s 300 recognized species of turtles with every living genus represented in the collection.
Dr. Pritchard has received many other honors greater than this meager award, including being recognized as a “Champion of the Wild” by the Discovery Channel, a “Hero of the Planet” by TIME Magazine, and 2001’s “Floridian of the Year” by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.
Why this award now?
TheTurtleRoom’s staff had discussed an award program to recognize the educational contributions of individuals. With no better first choice than Dr. Pritchard, the time was perfect to present the first ChelEd award to not only a preeminent “turtle man,” but a wonderful human being.
TheTurtleRoom’s mission is to advance the survival of the world’s turtles and tortoises through collaborative education, conservation and research programs. TTR envisions a future when all species of turtles and tortoises will be able to flourish in their natural environment.
TheTurtleRoom is a leader in education and conservation, especially as it relates to captive husbandry of tortoises and freshwater tortoises. Their team has combined experience with more than 100 chelonian species. TheTurtleRoom is also expanding their in-situ conservation and research experience and expertise.