2012 Nina R. Ingle

On October 11, 2012, The Field Museum will present the prestigious Parker/Gentry award to Nina R. Ingle, PhD, in recognition of her commitment to biodiversity conservation through research, management, and education. The Parker/Gentry award is given annually by the Museumto honor an outstanding individual, team or organization whose efforts have had a significant impact on preserving the world’s rich natural heritage and whose actions can serve as a model to others.

Dr. Ingle’s commitment to biodiversity conservation exemplifies the spirit of the Parker/Gentry Award. Both Filipino and British, she has spent most of her life in the Philippines. Early in her career she chose to focus on bats, fascinated by their diversity and their role in forest ecology as seed dispersers, pollinators, and insect predators. She wrote the first identification key to the 70 species of bats then known from the Philippines with Field Museum mammal curator Lawrence R. Heaney, PhD.

Dr. Ingle obtained her PhD in Natural Resources Management fromCornell Universityin 2001. She was one of the founding members of the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines (WCSP) and is its current president. The Society started in 1992 as a small group of wildlife biologists; the annual WCSP Philippine Biodiversity Symposium now draws about 200 participants from throughout the Philippines and abroad. For several years, Dr. Ingle edited the peer-reviewed WCSP Proceedings, working especially with authors who had not yet published a scientific paper.

In partnership with Bat Conservation International and Filipino wildlife biologists, cavers, and government environmental personnel, Dr. Ingle is leading an effort to collect information on the status of Philippine cave bats as a basis for conservation action. An initial product is an audio-visual presentation designed for communities near caves where bats live explaining the benefits from bats and the threats they face.

Dr. Ingle believes that society’s appreciation for and understanding of the natural environment is crucial for biodiversity conservation. One-third of Filipinos are under 15; what they learn in primary and secondary schools can have far-reaching effects on their futures and on the future of the Philippine environment. Dr. Ingle is working with the Ateneo de Davao High School on educational activities that develop academic knowledge and skills in the context of understanding the local landscape.

The Parker/Gentry Award was made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor. The award bears the names of the late Theodore A. Parker III and Alwyn Gentry, ardent conservationists and leading naturalists. Parker, an ornithologist, and Gentry, a botanist, died in 1993, while surveying hill forests of western Ecuador. Parker and Gentry worked closely with Field Museum scientists on several joint efforts, including rapid inventories for conservation.