HRH Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands To Bestow Order of the Golden Ark
– Intel Corporation co-founder Gordon Moore and Conservation International Senior Vice President Claude Gascon will be awarded the prestigious Order of the Golden Ark by His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands for their outstanding contributions to nature conservation. A ceremony honoring them and five other environmentalists will be held at the Soestdijk Palace outside of Amsterdam on April 19.
Established in 1971 by Prince Bernhard, the Order of the Golden Ark recognizes the world's most distinguished conservationists. An official order of the Dutch government, it is the only national order in the world dedicated to nature conservation. Both Moore and Gascon will be accorded the titles of Officers of the Golden Ark, one step above knighthood.
In December 2001, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation provided Conservation International (CI) with the largest gift in environmental history, with a series of grants equaling $261 million to help prevent species extinctions. As a member on CI's Board of Directors for more than 10 years, Moore was instrumental in the creation of The Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS) at CI, which enhances CI's work through solid science. In 1998, he and his wife provided a gift of $35 million to start CABS' work to quickly identify and respond to emerging threats to the Earth's biodiversity.
"Our small planet is blessed with a tremendous diversity of life that has been created over billions of years, yet mankind can destroy the fruits of evolution over a few hundred years-or perhaps in an instant," cautions Moore. "His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard's leadership serves as a significant encouragement to conservationists who are in the frontlines of a battle to protect us from the longer-term extinctions caused by mankind's activities."
Gascon, Senior Vice President of CI's Field Support Division, has spent much of his career in the Amazon Basin mapping and analyzing biodiversity information to serve as a basis for sound conservation planning. He was instrumental in raising to global prominence the scientific profile of a long-term conservation project in Brazil, the first to address cutting-edge issues of landscape design for biodiversity conservation on a large-scale. In the more than 15 years of his involvement with this project, it has received wide acclaim from a variety of scientific disciplines and from the Brazilian and U.S. governments.
As one of the few leaders in the field of amphibian conservation in the world, Gascon was invited by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) to chair the Global Amphibian Specialist Group. Gascon's research has resulted in more than 70 publications and two books concerning amphibian diversity, conservation, wildlife management and forest fragmentation in the Amazon. He co-edited the recently published Yale University Press book titled, Lessons from Amazonia: The Ecology and Conservation of a Fragmented Forest
, about deforestation, forest fragmentation and issues establishing conservation and management guidelines.
"His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard is a world leader in nature conservation and I truly appreciate his commitment and his recognition of the hard-working men and women who often spend years at a time in the field finding conservation solutions," said Gascon. "I am honored to be receiving this prestigious title. I am especially looking forward to meeting with Prince Bernhard to talk about the new conservation programs we are implementing in some of the world's most threatened ecosystems."
With the award Moore and Gascon join a luminary list of past recipients including Richard Leakey, David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, King Carl Gustav of Sweden, Prince Phillip Duke of Edinburgh, Kenya's former president Jomo Kenyatta, Edmund Hillary, Sylvia Earle, Norman Myers and Roger Tory Peterson.
The other conservationists being honored at the Palace on Friday are Canada's Jagmohan Maini, The Netherlands' Siegfried Woldhek, Slovenia's Marija Zupancic-Vicar, Belize's Janet Gibson and Colombia's Luciano Mutumbajoy.
Images and Biographies available upon request.