Monday, September 17, 2012

Head of Galapagos Conservancy to Share Loss and Legacy of “Lonesome George” the Giant Tortoise




CHESTERTOWN, MD—When the last surviving Pinta Island giant tortoise, a beloved centenarian named Lonesome George, died this past June, he left conservations in the Galapagos Islands and around the world more determined than ever to protect other endangered species.

In a lecture at Washington College titled “George: His Legacy,” the founder and president of the Galapagos Conservancy will bring her personal perspective to the story of George and the need to protect species diversity. Hosted by the College’s McLain Program in Environmental Studies, Johanna E. Barry will speak Wednesday, September 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall, Toll Science Center, on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue.

In a blog on the Conservancy’s Web site, Barry recalled the moment on June 25 when her organization’s science advisor, Linda Cayot, told her that Lonesome George had been found dead that morning in his corral.  “Linda couldn’t finish her sentence before she started to cry,” she wrote. George was like a cranky, eccentric uncle that you knew you would see at every family reunion. Except this year. Lonesome George was gone and it was impossible to believe. And with George – his species.”

The tortoise’s plight as the last of his kind had sparked a great deal of research in species recovery, Barry noted, so the message of his story will ultimately be one of “hope and of resolve.  We cannot and will not lose another species in Galapagos.”

Johanna Barry has worked in institutional advancement and organizational development for more than 30 years. She has held senior fundraising positions the World Conservation Union (U.S.), The Wilderness Society, and Resources for the Future and served as consultant to the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation, the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, and the Audubon Naturalist Society. 

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