Eleanor Sterling

American Museum of Natural History


As Director of the Museum's Center for Biodiversit y and Conservation (CBC), Eleanor Sterling oversees strategic planning and project development, leads fundraising efforts, and manages a multidisciplinary staff of over 25. In her capacity as a conservation biologist, Dr. Sterling also conducts fieldwork, studying the distribution patterns of biodiversity in tropical regions of the world and translating this information into recommendations for conservation managers, decision-makers, and educators. Dr. Sterling has extensive expertise developing environmental education programs and professional development workshops, having trained teachers, students, and U.S. Peace Corps volunteers in a variety of aspects related to biodiversity conservation. In 2000, in partnership with colleagues from around the world, Dr. Sterling developed the Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, which primarily targets undergraduate- and graduate-level educators in developing countries who will train the next generation of conservation biologists. The project's first training workshops were conducted in Bolivia (August 2001 and July 2002) and Vietnam (May 2002). Dr. Sterling is currently writing a book highlighting Vietnam's remarkable biodiversity, to be published by Yale University Press. Dr. Sterling has more than 15 years of field research experience in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where she conducted surveys and censuses, as well as behavioral, ecological, and genetic studies of primates, whales, and other mammals. She is considered a world authority on the aye-aye, a nocturnal lemur found only in Madagascar. For the last seven years, Dr. Sterling has served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where she now serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology. Dr. Sterling sits on the Board of Governors of the Society for Conservation Biology, and is both a Board member and Management Committee member of the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC). Dr. Sterling received her B.A. in psychobiology from Yale College in 1983 and her Ph.D. in anthropology and forestry and environmental studies from Yale University in 1993. She joined the Museum in 1996 as the CBC's Program Director and was named Director of the Center in 2000.


Why Should You Care About Biological Diversity?