Field Museum gives Parker/Gentry Award to Chinese conservationist

CHICAGO--The Field Museum will give its ninth annual Parker/Gentry Award to Prof. Yang Yuming, one of the People's Republic of China's foremost conservation advocates. He is a leading opponent of the massive project to build 13 dams on the Nu River in Southwestern China that was to begin construction this year.

The Nu is one of only two major rivers in China that has not been dammed. Last year, UNESCO named it a World Natural Heritage Site. Before emptying into Myanmar and Thailand, the Nu runs 1,750 miles in China through the "Grand Canyon" of China and some of the most biodiverse regions in the world.

Prof. Yang will receive the award at a special reception on May 25 at The Field Museum. He will be in Chicago and available for interview May 23-28, at which time the museum will issue a proclamation to support China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in his decision last month to suspend the construction of the Nu dams. Other institutions signing the proclamation calling on the government to cancel the project and protect the region and its people include the Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Nature Conservancy (Illinois Chapter), Openlands Project, International Crane Foundation, Brookfield Zoological Society, Canal Corridor Assn., and Center for Humans and Nature.

"Prof. Yang is a key advocate for the Nu, one of the last pristine rivers in Asia," said Doug Stotz, ornithologist and conservation ecologist at The Field Museum. "It flows through the home to some 7,000 plant species, a significant number of them endemic to the region, and 80 rare or endangered animal species, including the snow leopard and Yunnan snub-nosed antelope. Almost certainly, it is home to new species waiting to be discovered."

Last year, The Field Museum published a report on the region's rich biodiversity based on a Rapid Biological Inventory (RBI) conducted by several partners, including the Center for United States-China Arts Exchange at Columbia Universi

Contact: Greg Borzo
Field Museum

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