Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards for 2023

Friend of the Planet and Friend of Darwin awards.

NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award for 2023: the Homo naledi research team led by Lee Berger of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence; Laura Helmuth, the editor-in-chief of the popular science magazine Scientific American; and Bertha Vazquez, a middle school science teacher in Miami, Florida, who also serves as the education director for the Center for Inquiry, where she runs the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science.

"The Friends of Darwin for 2023 have tirelessly promoted the cause of evolution education," commented NCSE's executive director Ann Reid. "The discovery of H. naledi was among the most exciting events in paleontology in the last few decades. Scientific American has been educating the country about evolution since before the publication of On the Origin of Species. And the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science's efforts at equipping educators to teach evolution effectively over the last eight years are remarkably impressive."

NCSE is also pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of the Planet award for 2023: Susan Joy Hassol, the director of Climate Communication; Cathy Manduca, the founding director of the Science Education Research Center (SERC) at Carleton College and the executive director of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers from 2007 to 2019; and David W. Titley, formerly the Oceanographer and Navigator of the U.S. Navy and now founder of RV Weather and National Park Service volunteer.

Reid praised the Friends of the Planet for 2023 as well, explaining, "David Titley's focus on the importance of climate change in thinking about military preparedness and international relations is extraordinarily valuable, while Cathy Manduca's efforts through SERC and NAGT to support geoscience education in general and climate change education in particular have been heroic." She added, "And Susan Joy Hassol pioneered the art and science of climate communication over three decades, from her work on national and international climate assessments to her frequent op-eds."

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 Bruce Alberts, Sean Carroll, Faye Flam, John F. Haught, and the Texas Freedom Network. Previous recipients of the Friend of the Planet Award include Naomi Oreskes, Marshall Shepherd, and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.