Weiblen earns President's Community-Engaged Scholar Award
George Weiblen, who serves as the scientific director and curator of plants at the Bell Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, is the recipient of the University of Minnesota’s 2017 President’s Community-Engaged Scholar Award. This is the highest award the University of Minnesota bestows for scholarship conducted in partnership with external communities. Weiblen was chosen for the system-wide award for his community-engaged research and partnerships in Papua New Guinea which have advanced the field of biodiversity on the global level.
A professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at the College of Biological Sciences, Distinguished McKnight Professor Weiblen is the scientific director and curator of plants at the Bell Museum of Natural History and planetarium, as well as the instructor for “Flowering Plant Diversity” and “Minnesota Flora” courses.
In 1997, Weiblen and his colleagues founded the New Guinea Binatang Research Center by working with scientists, local governments, and tribal leaders to develop a conservation area, public school, and the Swire Station Research Facility near the Papua New Guinea village of Wanang. Weiblen’s team of citizen scientists have identified 250,000 woody plants and more than 500 species. Training and salaries provided by Weiblen and his colleagues continue to leverage native knowledge of regional biology to promote research and environmental conservation in the region.
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