1925 - 2016
Lawrence S. Hamilton, Professor Emeritus Cornell University, distinguished educator, environmental leader, and peace activist, died October 6, 2016, at age 91.
Grounded in love of Nature and strong ethical sense of fairness, Larry began his career as Zone Forester for Ontario, after serving as a Royal Navy pilot in WWII and studying Forestry at University of Toronto. Exposure to the horrors of war and this early connection to forests in the working landscape shaped the rest of his life.
MS- NY State College of Forestry; PhD- University of Michigan; Post-Doctoral Studies- University of California, Berkeley. At Cornell's Department of Natural Resources (1951-80) he was an exceptional educator, advisor, and pioneer of courses in forest ecology, watershed studies, interdisciplinary collaboration, and international resource issues. In the early 1970s, Larry produced one of the first documentations of tropical rainforest deforestation (Venezuela) and mangrove destruction (Trinidad).
1980-93 as Senior Fellow/Environment and Policy Institute, East-West Center, Honolulu, Larry's cutting-edge themes and infectious collegiality made him a productive convener of workshops throughout the Asia-Pacific region. He wrote/co-authored/facilitated hundreds of applied conservation publications.
Member of the World Commission on Protected Areas of IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) since the 1970s, he led the Mountain theme for almost 25 years. In 1992 he created the quarterly newsletter Mountain Protected Areas UPDATE (distributed worldwide), which he edited until 2015. He and a small band of fellow scientists created a call to action for mountain conservation which was presented to the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit and became the basis for the mountain chapter in Agenda 21. He championed tropical montane cloud forests, corridors of ecological connectivity, trans-border cooperation for conservation and peace, understanding of mountains as water towers, and the spiritual/cultural values of mountains.
Honors include: two Fulbright-Hayes Fellowships (Australia/New Zealand); 1987 Environmental Achiever Award from Friends of the UN Environment Program; 2003 Packard International Parks Merit Award from IUCN/WCPA; 2004 Distinguished Scientist Award from University of Hawai`i for Cloud Forest Conservation; the prestigious King Albert Gold Medal for Mountain Conservation Leadership in 2004; and Honorary IUCN membership in 2008. Two lesser-known honors which greatly pleased him: the 2005 "Grandpa Larry" medallion ("Archdruid of the Hamilton Clan, Defender of Sacred Mountains and Tennis Player Extraordinaire"), and the "Hamilton Trail" in The Nature Conservancy Vermont preserve in his hometown, Charlotte, named two days before he died.
Trustee of The Nature Conservancy Vermont for over two decades, he also shared his expertise, love of Nature, and good humor through writing, education, and many local conservation initiatives. He was active in Veterans for Peace, Green Mountain Chapter.
Loved by colleagues, friends, and by family: wife of 36 years Linda; children Bruce (Joan), Anne Johnson (Doug), Lynne Silverberg (Howard); daughter-in-law Beth Sachs (Blair dec.); grandchildren Kate (Daniel de la Vega), Patrick (Violet); Kelsey and Sam Johnson; Joshua and Elena Silverberg; Ben Sachs-Hamilton; great-grandchild Amelia de la Vega; first wife Helen; brother Earl; and several nieces and nephews.
Contributions in Larry's honor welcome to The Nature Conservancy Vermont and Hawai`i.
Published in New York Times from Oct. 13 to Oct. 14, 2016.