Professor emeritus of biology; biology research professor
Although I retired from formal classroom teaching in July 2012, I continued to actively involve students in field courses and extra-curricular field experiences as well as my own research until recently. The covid virus curtailed most of those activities, but I continue an active research program.
My primary research projects currently include
Updating of the Checklist of Turtles of the World (Turtle Taxonomy Working Group 2021. Turtles of the World: Checklist and Atlas (9th Ed.), which I began in 1972;
Analysis of 38 years of data on the turtles and snakes from the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge in the Sandhills of western Nebraska; and
The analysis of 40 years of data on the Critically Endangered Allen Cays Rock Iguana in the Exuma Islands of The Bahamas
I also continue to serve on the Boards of the Turtle Survival Alliance, the Turtle Conservation Fund, the Turtle Taxonomy Fund, and the International Iguana Foundation. I also serve as an editor for Chelonian Conservation and Biology, and the Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises.
For recreation, in 1993 I purchased 36 acres of middle-growth forest (heavily logged in the 1980s) adjacent to Earlham’s 40 acre old growth forest (Wildman Woods), and began managing them with the usual methods of TSI (timber stand improvement), as well as for the removal of invasive exotic species. In 1996, I purchased an adjacent 40-acre cornfield, immediately placed it the federal CRP (Conservation Reserve Program), planted 40,000 trees, and created nine wetlands. Both properties have been managed for maximum hardwood diversity and growth as well as amphibian diversity (link to before and after pic). As of 2023 the number of wetlands constructed for amphibians has now grown to 55, 35 of which I dug by hand (so as not to disturb the forest). In 2003, we established a conservation easement on the two tracts through the Red-tail Conservancy Land Trust in Muncie that insures that the land will never be deforested or developed in any way in perpetuity. In 2018 we donated the middle-growth tract to Earlham College, although I continue its daily management. We hope eventually also to donate the 35-acre tree plantation to Earlham.