Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards for 2020

NCSE's annual awards are given to scientists, educators, activists, journalists, and others who make an invaluable contribution to a greater understanding of evolution and climate science.

NCSE Friend of the Planet and Friend of Darwin awards

NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award for 2020: Joe Felsenstein, Professor Emeritus of Genome Sciences and of Biology at the University of Washington; the late Larry Flammer, a master biology teacher famously devoted to advancing evolution education through his teaching, writing, and mentorship; and William McComas, Parks Family Professor of Science Education at the University of Arkansas and editor of The American Biology Teacher.

"The Friends of Darwin for 2020 have made profound contributions to the cause of evolution education and to NCSE in a variety of ways," commented NCSE's executive director Ann Reid. "Joe Felsenstein is a towering figure in phylogenetic inference and theoretical population genetics, two scientific areas central to the study of evolution. Larry Flammer was the very model of a dedicated evolution educator in the classroom, online, and beyond, while William McComas continues to provide unparalleled leadership in evolution education."

NCSE is also pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of the Planet award for 2020: Jacquelyn Gill, Associate Professor of Paleoecology and Plant Ecology at the University of Maine and host of the "Warm Regards" podcast; Frank Niepold, the Senior Climate Education Program Manager and Coordinator at NOAA's Climate Program Office and a founding member and co-chair of the leadership board of CLEAN; and Spencer Weart, the physicist-turned-historian who wrote The Discovery of Global Warming (2003; revised edition, 2008) and its constantly updated online companion.

"Both in her research and her outreach on climate change, Jacquelyn Gill has been nothing less than extraordinary," Reid explained, "while Frank Niepold has been a truly indispensable part of practically every important climate education effort in the United States over the last two decades." She added, "Spencer Weart's work on the history of climate science is not only a riveting narrative but also a reminder of how solid the science underlying the present scientific consensus on climate change is."

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 Barbara Forrest, David Hillis, Neil Shubin, and the Texas Freedom Network. Previous recipients of the Friend of the Planet Award include Richard Alley, Naomi Oreskes, and the Paleontological Research Institution.

Additionally, NCSE is presenting a special award to Maccewill "Max" Yip. A volunteer at the NCSE office since 2012, Yip has helped out with projects that range from curating NCSE's archives to entering data, guiding youth volunteers, and developing science activity kits. "That's what I appreciate most about Max — he has the flexibility and talent to take on any project and truly make it better," says Kate Carter, NCSE's Director of Community Science Education. Yip’s work behind the scenes has been instrumental to the success of NCSE.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.