CHAMPAIGN, Ill. University of Illinois entomology professor and department head May Berenbaum will receive the 2011 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, an international award that recognizes "those individuals who have contributed in an outstanding manner to scientific knowledge and public leadership to preserve and enhance the environment of the world."
Previous Tyler Prize recipients include American biologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward O. Wilson, primatologist and animal conservationist Jane Goodall and conservation biologist Paul Ehrlich.
"Just about all my scientific heroes have been Tyler Prize recipients," Berenbaum said. "I didn't consider that I was up in that orbit. I mean, G. Evelyn Hutchinson, the founder of modern limnology, and Edward O. Wilson and Tom Eisner and Jerrold Meinwald and Paul Ehrlich yikes! That is pretty amazing."
"Professor Berenbaum has done more to advance the field of entomology and explain its significance than nearly any other researcher today," said Owen T. Lind, a professor of biology at Baylor University and the chair of the Tyler Prize executive committee. "Her expertise on bees and the causes behind declining bee populations has further positioned her as a leading resource for the media, policymakers and peers."
The Tyler Prize consists of a $200,000 cash prize and a gold medal.
In addition to her ongoing research on the chemical interactions between plant-eating insects and their host plants, Berenbaum has built a second career as a science communicator. She has written or co-written numerous books on insect fact and folklore, and has led several projects aimed at communicating science to the public and engaging "citizen scientists" in the process of collecting data on environmental subjects.
|Contact: Diana Yates|
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign