1943 - 2016
The world lost a shining star on November 27th, when Stephen Robert Kellert lost his courageous battle with multiple myeloma. Known as the "Godfather of Biophila," Steve was the Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology and Senior Research Scholar at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. His work focused on understanding the connection between nature and humanity with a particular interest in the human need for nature, environmental conservation, and sustainable design and development. Steve's accomplishments are many, as the following list of awards and publications demonstrates, but it is his wonderful sense of joy, humor, adventure in living and love of others that will be missed the most. He was genuinely interested in everyone he met. His legacy is a zest for and appreciation for life.
His awards include: the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award, Connecticut Outdoor and Environmental Educators Association; the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Service Award, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; the 2009 George B. Hartzog Award for Environmental Conservation; the 2008 American Publishers Professional and Scholarly Best Book of Year Award in Architecture and Urban Planning for the book Biophilic Design; the 2005 Outstanding Research Award for contributions to theory and science, from the North American Association for Environmental Education; the 1997 National Conservation Achievement Award, from the National Wildlife Federation; the 1990 Distinguished Individual Achievement Award, from the Society for Conservation Biology; the 1985 Best Publication of Year Award, from the International Foundation for Environmental Conservation; and the 1983 Special Achievement Award, from the National Wildlife Federation. He served on committees of the National Academy of Sciences and was a member of the board of directors of many organizations. He authored and co-authored more than 150 publications, including Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World; Companions in Wonder: Children and Adults Exploring Nature Together; The Coming Transformation: Values to Sustain Natural and Human Communities; Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life; Building for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection; Kinship to Mastery: Biophilia in Human Evolution and Development; The Value of Life: Biological Diversity and Human Society; The Biophilia Hypothesis; The Good in Nature and Humanity: Connecting Science, Religion, and Spirituality with the Natural World; Children and Nature: Psychological, Sociocultural, and Evolutionary Foundations; and Ecology, Economics, Ethics: The Broken Circle. He also created a documentary video, Biophilic Design: the Architecture of Life. At the time of his death he was completing a new book for the Yale University Press entitled, Nature by Design: the Art and Practice of Biophilic Design, to be published in 2018.
Steve died surrounded by his loving wife Cilla, his two daughters Emily and Libby, his son-in-law Arthur, and his four grandchildren, Ellanora, Simone, Aven and Henry.
Please honor Steve's commitment to the natural world by supporting The Wilderness Society, 1615 M Street, Washington DC 20036. A memorial service will be held in early January at Kroon Hall of Yale, the biophilic building he originally inspired.
Published in New York Times from Nov. 29 to Nov. 30, 2016.