Scientific Director and Director,
Tshuapa Lomami Lualaba (TL2) Project
Democratic Republic of Congo
Nomination submitted by: Julian Kerbis
The 2010 Parker Gentry awardees, John and Terese Hart, have lived and worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, since the early 1970’s. John made his first visit to the D. R. Congo as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, living with the Mbuti Pygmies in the Ituri Forest in the northeast of the country for over two years. Terese came to the D. R. Congo as a Peace Corps Volunteer and taught high school in a rural community in eastern Congo between 1974 and 1976. The Harts returned to the Ituri Forest between 1980 and 1983 to undertake fieldwork for their Ph.D. dissertations, John’s in Wildlife Ecology, and Terese’s in forest ecology and botany. During this period they built a home on the banks of the Epulu River, and laid the groundwork for the first scientific research station in the region. They returned again to the Ituri Forest in 1985, as scientists with the New York Zoological Society (later to become Wildlife Conservation Society). For the subsequent 25 years, they devoted themselves to research, training of Congolese scientists, and the conservation of the D. R. Congo’s spectacular national parks and wildlife heritage. Since receiving the award, they have continued to work in the D. R. Congo as independent scientists, with a project focused on the exploration and protection of Congo’s remaining natural landscapes and their flora and fauna.