Thanks to my sister Michelle McIlroy for designing the logo!


Ever since I was a child, I have been very interested in nature and the environment. I have a B.S. degree in wildlife biology, and have worked as a zookeeper, wildlife biologist, and ecologist. I am conducting a brief survey of world leaders, government officials, religious leaders, corporate CEOs, environmental groups, wildlife experts, and others regarding nature and the environment. I am also very interested in religious views, customs, and beliefs from around the world, and the interactions between religion, culture, society, and the environment. This is something I am doing out of personal interest, and is not connected to any group or organization. I have been working on this project since the summer of 2006, and hope to eventually turn it into a book and/or documentary. I am hoping to make this into a global project, with responses from all segments of society. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or comments. If you have not already done so, I hope that you will consider taking part in my project, and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Thanks for stopping by!


December 27, 2007

Ariel E. Lugo

Director – USDA Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry (Puerto Rico)

Today’s Date: 10 December 2007

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

I have fond memories of pet dogs I have had, but these are not the type that one would list as a big impact. However, a summer job in the rain forest in Puerto Rico, just after I graduated from my bachelor’s degree, did have a big impact in my life. It contributed to me becoming an ecologist rather than an MD.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

No, but I cherished visiting my grandfather’s farm

Now? I love all tropical forests and wetlands.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

My favorite animals are those construed to be ecosystem engineers or keystone species. For example, earthworms, leaf cutter ants, freshwater shrimp, etc.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

The greatest present environmental challenge is the same one we will face in the future. That is, coping with environmental change. Environmental conditions are rapidly changing as human effects on the planet become increasingly global and ubiquitous. Nature reacts to these changes by self-organizing into new ecosystems that we need to recognize and conserve, even if they don’t have the same species composition as familiar ecosystems.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

To become as familiar as possible with natural environments and ecosystems, learn to value the services we derived from these ecosystems, and contribute to their conservation.

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