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Northern biologist chosen for inaugural Jane Goodall Fellowship

Laurentian University professor Jackie Litzgus is first-ever recipient of the new fellowship in conservation biology; Goodall herself was in Sudbury to present honour
John Gunn, Jackie Litzgus, Jane Goodall, Tharusha Wijewardena, Anastacia Chartrand, and Dr. Tammy Eger pictured at a gathering to celebrate Jackie Litzgus as the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Jane Goodall Research Fellowship in Conservation Biology at Laurentian University and Tharusha Wijewardena, PhD student at Laurentian University as the recipient of the Dr. Jane Goodall Scholarship. At the same event, Anastacia Chartrand, Chair of the Laurentian University Environmental Sustainability Committee presented Goodall with a pin as a symbol of Laurentian University joining the Nature Positive Universities pledge.

Laurentian University professor Jackie Litzgus has been chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Jane Goodall Research Fellowship in Conservation Biology. 

This esteemed recognition is in honor of Litzgus's groundbreaking work in safeguarding endangered species, particularly the reptiles facing critical challenges in Ontario.

Litzgus has garnered numerous accolades throughout her career, including the Laurentian University Research Excellence Award and Ontario Nature's Conservation Leadership Award. Currently serving as the director of the Vale Living With Lakes Centre, she leads the Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit, a team dedicated to advancing freshwater ecosystem research and conservation. 

The distinction was presented personally by Goodall herself, the globally renowned environmentalist. Goodall visited Sudbury for the world premiere release of her captivating IMAX Science North film titled "Reasons for Hope” on May 31.

“On my office wall hangs a poster showcasing many formidable women of science, women I look up to, Dr. Goodall among them. It is both humbling and awe-inspiring to be recognized with a fellowship bearing Dr. Goodall’s name,” Litzgus said in a release from Laurentian University. “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to give more focus to the conservation work that my students and I do.”

During an intimate meeting to discuss their shared commitment to preserving nature, Goodall and Litzgus had the opportunity to engage with Tharusha Wijewardena, a Laurentian University student from Sri Lanka and a PhD candidate. 

In recognition of exceptional dedication to biodiversity conservation, Wijewardena will be the recipient of a Jane Goodall Student Scholarship, an award made possible by Laurentian faculty and staff, the first of its kind at Laurentian University.

The joint efforts of Litzgus, Goodall, and the faculty members at Laurentian University exemplify their passion for environmental stewardship and their commitment to nurturing future leaders in the field of conservation biology, said a press release. Recently, the yniversity announced a commitment to join the Nature Positive University Alliance (NPUA), to support the prioritization of nature restoration within the higher education sector.

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