CORVALLIS - The third class of Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellows will soon begin their training in this annual program to assist some of the nation's leading environmental scientists in doing public, private and political communication, outreach and educational activities.

The program is operated by Oregon State University on behalf of the Ecological Society of America, with funding support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Begun in 1998, it assists scientists who want to be more effective communicators of scientific information.

This initiative has already produced 60 fellows from 25 states and the District of Columbia, who have been trained in working with the private sector, public news media, policy makers, non-governmental organizations and other scientists. Their environmental expertise runs from ecology and evolution to genetics, oceanography, fisheries, molecular biology, geography, engineering, economics, political science and many other fields.

"Each of the 22 new fellows is a talented, articulate and recognized environmental scientist," said Judith Vergun, project director. "They will receive advanced leadership and communication training during the coming year, and improve their ability to share scientific expertise with a broad array of interested parties beyond academia."

Training sessions will be June 20-27 in Tucson, Ariz., and Sept. 7-14 in Washington, D.C.

Selection for the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program is competitive. More details about the program, fellows, their expertise and other information can be found on the web.

One of the fellows chosen for this year's training is Terri Lomax, professor of botany and plant pathology at OSU and director of the university's new Program for the Analysis of Biotechnology Issues. In that role, Lomax works frequently with the public, policy makers and news media to help explain and analyze some of the complex and controversial issues surrounding biotechnology. Lomax is the third OSU professor to receive training in this program.

Other academic experts who will participate in this year's training are from such prestigious institutions as the University of Michigan, University of Maryland, Rutgers University, California Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley, University of Washington, University of Colorado and other schools.

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Judith Vergun, 541-737-4684