NTBG statement on the deaths of Thomas Lovejoy and E.O. Wilson

December 27, 2021 (Kalaheo, Hawaii) — The National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) is saddened to learn of the passing of two legendary figures in the world of natural science and conservation, Professors Thomas Lovejoy and E.O. Wilson.

Both Lovejoy, who died on December 25, and Wilson, who died on December 26, were recognized as pioneers who made sweeping and monumental contributions to the study of nature, and both are credited with popularizing the concept and importance of biological diversity, which they called “biodiversity.”

NTBG CEO and Director Janet Mayfield described Lovejoy and Wilson as “towering figures in the world of biology and conservation.” She added, “their life’s work and convictions have been enduring sources of inspiration for us at NTBG. The contributions they have made will continue to guide millions around the world as we grapple with our planet’s most urgent challenges.”

NTBG President Charles “Chipper” Wichman praised Lovejoy as a scientist and environmental activist who changed the world saying, “his writing and passion brought awareness to the urgency of saving our planet’s biodiversity.”

Wichman worked closely with Lovejoy in securing the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s 2016 World Conservation Congress which took place in Hawaii. Lovejoy played a critical role in securing the Congress, a gathering noted for its diversity, size, and impact.

“Tom Lovejoy and E.O. Wilson have inspired a whole culture of dedicated citizens around the globe to continue their visions of a healthy and sustainable planet,” Wichman said.

NTBG extends its deepest and most sincere condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of both Thomas Lovejoy and E.O. Wilson.
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