Ecological Society of America Honors Erika Zavaleta of the University of California, Santa Cruz

Erika Zavaleta, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Santa Cruz, has been selected to receive the 2021 Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology Award from the Ecological Society of America. The award recognizes long-standing contributions toward increasing the diversity of future ecologists through mentoring, teaching, or outreach.

The society’s announcement of the award noted that “Zavaleta’s development of innovative and accessible field experiences has enhanced the science skills, confidence, and leadership potential of many underrepresented students in conservation science, who are now pursuing or fulfilling their goals of an environmental career and sharing her vision to diversify today’s environmental workforce.”

Since 2015, Professor Zavaleta has directed the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, which recruits a diverse cohort of students each year for experiential training in field research and conservation leadership. Dr. Zavaleta’s science communication skills also have been impactful, as seen in her 29 short field-based films about California’s ecology and conservation and in her award-winning book, Ecosystems of California (University of California Press, 2016), co-edited with Hal Mooney.

Professor Zavaleta earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology and a Ph.D. in biological sciences, all at Stanford University.

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