Priest-Professor receives top green award

By agency reporter
June 26, 2009

Lancaster scientist and Anglican priest, Canon Professor John Rodwell was yesterday awarded the 2009 President’s Medal by the Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management.

The Medal, first awarded in 2006 to David Attenborough, recognises services to ecology and conservation. Professor Rodwell, who has worked as a scientist and Anglican priest for over 30 years, will receive his award from Dr Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England, the government’s advisor on the natural environment, at a reception in London.

"I am honoured to think that my work has made such a difference to the quality of environmental professionals and the way we can understand and care for the natural world," said Professor Rodwell, a former Professor of Ecology at Lancaster University.

He co-ordinated the British government research programme which provides a common language for all environmental agencies, non-governmental organisations, utilities and corporate industry in understanding and sustaining the habitats and landscapes of Britain.

Internationally, he has directed skill-transfer programmes for environmental scientists in Siberia, Latvia, Albania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, provided training for the US Nature Conservancy and advises the European Environment Agency.

A non-stipendiary priest at Lancaster Priory in the Blackburn Diocese and an honorary canon of Blackburn Cathedral, Professor Rodwell is ‘especially concerned with the religious perspective on relationships between humankind and creation’.

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Nicholas Reade, said: "Canon Rodwell’s outstanding award is a significant recognition of the rigorous science and patient methodology he has contributed to the outstanding question of our time: the survival of our planet.

"In all his work, across many countries and cultures, John Rodwell has also applied the inherent insights of his Christian faith. This vital combination of intellect and Christian concern makes his award doubly significant; honouring an internationally respected scientist who informs his professional advocacy of environmental concern through his personal faith."

Professor Rodwell recently led the annual conference of the Leaders of Anglican Religious Communities and chairs the Blackburn Diocesan Environmental Working Group, whose major report is being studied throughout the Church of England.

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