NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award for 2019: Jim Krupa, Professor of Biology at the University of Kentucky; Joe Thornton, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago; and Lacey Wieser, the former director of K-12 Science and STEM in the Arizona Department of Education who resigned in 2018 in protest of then Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas's attempt to undermine the treatment of evolution in the state's science standards.
"Jim Krupa is a biology instructor par excellence, teaching literally tens of thousands of students over the last two decades — with evolution always front and center," commented NCSE's executive director Ann Reid. "Evolution, in particular the evolution of genes and the proteins they code for, is also front and center in Joe Thornton's important and influential research. And Lacey Wieser felt so strongly about evolution education that she continued to advocate for its place in Arizona's science standards even after her resignation."
NCSE is also pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of the Planet award for 2019: Climate Parents, a national movement mobilizing for clean energy and climate solutions, directed by Lisa Hoyos; Heidi Cullen, the former chief scientist of Climate Central and now the Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives and the Director of the Information and Technology Dissemination Division at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute; and the Paleontological Research Institution, directed by Warren D. Allmon.
"Heidi Cullen is a tenacious and effective specialist in climate change communication," Reid explained, "while the Paleontological Research Institution — already a leader in informal evolution education — deserves special praise for The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change (2017), the single best available resource for teachers on climate change." She added, "And Climate Parents has been a valuable and effective partner of NCSE's in working against assaults on climate education, especially in Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota."
The Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards are presented annually to a select few whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its goal of defending the teaching of evolution and climate science have been truly outstanding. Previous recipients of the Friend of Darwin award include Niles Eldredge, Susan Epperson, Edward J. Larson, and the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover. Previous recipients of the Friend of the Planet Award include Kerry Emanuel, Katharine Hayhoe, and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.