Famous naturalist E.O. Wilson got his start preserving and protecting the natural world in Alabama. Today, hundreds of the field manuals collected by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author have a new home at Paint Rock Forest Research Center, right here in his home state of Alabama. Keep reading for more.
E.O. Wilson was an influential naturalist and evolutionary theorist who introduced the concept of “sociobiology,” as well as one of the world’s leading experts on ants.
He is widely considered the father of sociobiology—the study of evolution and the social behavior of animals connected to anthropology and human activity. Wilson was known as one of the world’s most important and influential scientists before he passed last year.
An impactful donation
Hundreds of field manuals, books and various notebooks of the late E.O. Wilson have found a home at the Paint Rock Forest Research Center in Alabama, located within one of the most biologically diverse forests in North America.
Wilson visited Paint Rock in 2018 and insisted the center should be one of the world’s greatest centers of ecosystem research.
Wilson’s long-time assistant, Kathy Horton, made sure the books made it to Alabama to help the Paint Rock Forest Research Center continue to build its program.
Plans for the books—what now?
The incredible donation to the center includes guidebooks related to trees, plants, insects and aquatic species with personal dedications to Wilson from their authors. Many contain Wilson’s own notations. There are even a few nature books that Wilson inherited from his father within the special collection.
“We are really pleased to have these here. We’re pleased that Kathy provided them to us. We will protect these books. We will allow others to come in and have a window into Ed’s literary relationship to the natural world.”Bill Finch, Founding Director, Paint Rock Forest Research Center
Plans for protecting and preserving the books include a new library being built with the renowned collection as the centerpiece. According to Bill Finch, he and Paint Rock employees are in the process of creating the space and working with librarians on how best to do so.
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