Philadelphia ecologist receives top Mongolia honor

PHILADELPHIA The land of legendary warrior Ghengis Khan has bestowed its Friendship Medal on a veteran scientist whose climate-change studies have contributed to the growing understanding of global warming.

Dr. Clyde Goulden, Director of The Academy of Natural Sciences Institute for Mongolian Biodiversity and Ecological Studies, received Mongolias highest honor for foreigners who have made outstanding contributions to promoting the central Asian nations development. In a ceremony in June in his office in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, President Nambariin Enkhbayar awarded Goulden the Friendship Medal for helping develop relations between the U.S. and Mongolia and for helping develop the natural and environmental field of research in Mongolia. Other Friendship Medal winners include Leonid Brezhnev, general secretary of the Communist Party of the former Soviet Union.

Gouldens relationship with Mongolia stems back to 1966 when he visited Lake Baikal, the worlds largest lake (in volume), as part of a cultural exchange program. But it was an appeal from a Buddhist lama in Buryatia, an autonomous Russian republic next to Mongolia, that prompted Goulden to return to the sparsely populated, former Soviet-aligned country. The lama and his followers were concerned about the economic development effects on lands the Buddhists considered sacred. In 1994, Goulden, an aquatic ecologist and then curator of the Academys Patrick Center for Environmental Research, visited Lake Hvsgl in northern Mongolia, along with Academy Senior Fellow Robert McCracken Peck, and recognized it as a treasure to be researched and protected. At least 2 million years old, Lake Hvsgl is about 100 miles long and 20 miles wide and is one of the most pristine lakes in the world.

I was stunned at how beautiful and clean the lake was and at how much we still had to learn about this lake, said Goulden.

In 1995, Goulden helped found The Institute of Mongolian Biodiversity and Ecol

Contact: Carolyn Belardo
The Academy of Natural Sciences

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