On September 3, The Field Museum will present the prestigious Parker/Gentry Award to Mr. Rhett A. Butler, in recognition of his commitment to biodiversity conservation awareness. The Parker/Gentry Award is given annually by the Museum to honor an outstanding individual, team or organization whose efforts have had a significant impact on preserving the world's rich natural heritage and whose actions can serve as a model to others.
Rhett Butler is the founder of Mongabay.com, an environmental science and conservation news website that draws more than 2 million visitors a month and Mongabay.org, a non-profit organization that raises awareness about social and environmental issues relating to forests and other ecosystems. Mongabay is widely known for its credible reporting and is frequently a source of information on tropical forests for mainstream media outlets.
Since its inception in 1999, Mongabay has grown to include a news service; a rainforest site for children that is available in nearly 40 languages; a popular Indonesian-language environmental news site with correspondents in two dozen cities; and Tropical Conservation Science, an open-access, peer-reviewed academic journal that provides opportunities for scientists in developing countries to publish their research. He also started WildMadagascar.org, a site that highlights the cultural and biological richness of Madagascar, and the Tropical Forest Network, a social network in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Parker/Gentry Award was made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor. The award bears the names of the late Theodore A. Parker III and Alwyn Gentry, ardent conservationists and leading naturalists. Parker, an ornithologist, and Gentry, a botanist, died in 1993, while surveying hill forests of western Ecuador. Parker and Gentry worked closely with Field Museum scientists on several joint efforts, including rapid inventories for conservation.