2020 Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award goes to Dr. Maile Neel

SCB North America selected Dr. Maile Neel for The Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award for her leadership in the research fields of species recovery and genetic diversity and her dedicated translation and application of that research to inform practical decisions and actions for restoration and management across multiple agencies. The LaRoe Award targets individuals who show leadership in government service and translate the principles of conservation biology into real-world conservation.

Maile Neel has dedicated her career to studying critical conservation problems and providing practical guidance for policy and management.  She began her career as a Ranger at Channel Islands National Park, followed by almost 10 years as a Botanist on the San Bernardino National Forest. Now, as an academic researcher at University of Maryland, she uses cutting edge ecological and evolutionary science to understand spatial patterns of plant biodiversity and applies this understanding to help conserve and restore diversity. She translates results for practitioners, often through extensive interactions with conservation personnel in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the Department of Defense, and state natural resource agencies. Dr. Neel’s innovative research and cross-disciplinary approaches to developing practical solutions for conserving species highlight her leadership in translating conservation science into real-world conservation.

“It is a great honor to receive the Edward T. LaRoe III award in recognition of my contributions to conservation, a field to which I have dedicated the majority of my adult life. That the recognition comes from the premier society for the profession that I have called home for over 20 years makes it even more meaningful to me. Beyond feeling honored though, receiving the LaRoe award makes me reflect on how much more I could and should do. This reflection is likely driven in part by urgency reflected in the adage attributed to David Brower that in conservation the victories are temporary and the defeats are permanent. The current realities in the world can drive me to throw up my hands in despair when I think of the task at hand. But then I know that no one can do it all, and so I forge ahead, knowing that my colleagues – many of whom probably deserve this award more than I do – are pointed in the same direction. Remembering this is a team effort keeps me hopeful and striving towards our common goal.”

Dr. Neel accepted the LaRoe Award at the Virtual NACCB 2020. Please see her acceptance video below.