Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership 2013 Awardee- George Archibald
George Archibald is the first recipient of the Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership. As founder of the International Crane Foundation (ICF), he has devoted his life to protecting cranes and their ecosystems around the world and to helping thousands of people understand, and be inspired by, the global significance of bird conservation.
In 1973, with fellow Cornell University graduate student Ron Sauey, George Archibald founded ICF, which has since evolved into a world-renowned organization. While Dr. Archibald is famous for raising crane chicks in captivity, imprinting chicks on people dressed to resemble adult cranes, and using ultra-light aircraft to guide young cranes on their first migrations, his portfolio is far more extensive than just these high-profile instances.
Under his leadership the ICF has formed partnerships on crane, ecosystem, and community-support projects in the world’s most important places for cranes. ICF has successfully bred 14 of the 15 species of cranes both for reintroduction and educational purposes; established research and conservation leadership training programs in several African countries, China, Russia, India, Vietnam, and elsewhere; and hosted several dozen workshops with participants from 22 countries designed to foster the cross-border cooperation needed to preserve these migratory species.
Dr. Archibald has long provided education, mentoring, and support to colleagues worldwide, resulting in the protection of more than six million hectares in Russia and the establishment of more than 100 nature reserves that benefit cranes and other wildlife.
Most important, Dr. Archibald is a true conservation ambassador who uses his unique brand of "crane diplomacy" to work in sensitive places, persuading countries and people to work together on habitat- and bird-protection efforts. Whether with Buddhist monks in Bhutan who view cranes as spiritual beings or with Chinese officials balancing economic development and land conservation, George’s work connects unlikely allies through the magic of cranes and leverages people's interests into effective worldwide conservation actions.
For all these and more reasons, George Archibald is most deserving of the inaugural Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership.