BEND, Ore. –William Ripple, a professor of forest ecosystems and society at Oregon State University, has been selected to receive the 2008 Earle A. Chiles Award, presented by the High Desert Museum in Bend.
The award recognizes work to heighten public understanding of natural resource issues of the high desert region, and “promote thoughtful decision-making that will sustain the region’s natural and cultural heritage.”
Ripple has studied the importance of large predators in terrestrial ecosystems, which “helps create the basis for public policy initiatives and thoughtful ecological management decision-making throughout the high desert,” officials said.
Research by Ripple and other OSU scientists in recent years has garnered widespread public attention, as they learn more about the historic role of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, cougars in Zion and Yosemite National Park, and similar circumstances from other studies. The loss of these key predators, many scientists now believe, has triggered radical changes in terrestrial and stream ecosystems when grazing animals such as deer and elk lack natural predation and have little fear of being attacked.
“The Earle A. Chiles Award extends the museum’s educational focus, honoring Dr. Ripple’s achievements in working to better understand and address issues surrounding the region’s resources,” said Janeanne Upp, president of the museum. “The museum is proud to serve an essential civic role by recognizing this work, and is grateful for generous support from the Chiles Foundation, which makes the award possible.”
The award, which will be presented on Dec. 2 at a banquet in Portland, will include a certificate and honorarium of $15,000.