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Public Lecture Series featuring Lee Durrell

Saving Species from Extinction

Past, Present and Future of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
This event will be streamed live. Please visit our Live Stream page at 7pm on the evening of the event to view the lecture for free.

With Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust well into its second half century, Lee Durrell reflects on the past, present and future of this remarkable institution. It was founded in Jersey, an island in the English Channel, by Gerald Durrell, the popular nature writer and Lee’s late husband, with the mission to save species from extinction.

The Trust began as a modest zoo, but became a pioneer in approaches and techniques to restore endangered species and their habitats, working with local communities. It has rescued dozens of species from the brink of extinction and trains conservation professionals from all over the world to do the same. It is now recognized as a world leader in biodiversity conservation

Lee will tell the story from the earliest successes to the latest endeavors, from the Mauritius kestrel, reduced to four birds in the 1970s, to the Montserrat mountain chicken, not a chicken, but a giant frog, which plummeted to near extinction in 2009. She will speak about Durrell’s own staff currently undertaking 50 projects in a dozen countries and the thousands of graduates of Durrell Conservation Academy, who are now saving species in their home countries in a network known as Durrell’s Army.

Lee McGeorge Durrell was born in 1949 in Memphis, Tennessee. She received a BA in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College and a PhD in zoology from Duke University.

Lee married Gerald Durrell, founder of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, in 1979. She was instrumental in re-opening Madagascar to western scientists during the early 1980’s. She influenced the development of the Trust’s field projects, particularly in Madagascar where she launched a recovery programme for the world's rarest tortoise. Lee’s first book, The State of the Ark (1986), was a comprehensive review of species conservation.

Lee and Gerald wrote books and presented several television series together, including Ark on the Move, The Amateur Naturalist and Durrell in Russia. Their four-month expedition to Madagascar in 1990 to collect endangered species for breeding programs resulted in a television documentary To the Island of the Aye-Aye, which won the Gold Award at the New York International Film and Television Festival.

In 1995 Lee succeeded Gerald as Honorary Director of the Trust, playing an important role as ambassador and fund-raiser. In 1999 she learned to fly light aeroplanes and assisted the Trust for a number of years by flying animals to and from Jersey for breeding programs. In 2014 she set up a support group in the US called American Friends of Durrell.

In 2011 Lee was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in recognition of her services to biodiversity conservation.

Lee looks forward to speaking at The Explorers Club, where she will continue the story her late husband told there more than 40 years ago.

Date: November 9th, 2015

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Presentation

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

Free for EC Student Members, $5 w/ a valid Student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To secure a reservation, please call us at 212.628.8383 or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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