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SFS' East Africa Director Dr. Moses Okello Awarded The University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources International Alumni Achievement Award for 2011

Beverly, Massachusetts, USA - April 20, 2012 - The University of Idaho's College of Natural Resources (CNR) awarded Dr. Moses Okello the 2011 College of Natural Resources (CNR) International Alumni Achievement. Dr. Okello is senior director of The School for Field Studies (SFS) environmental study abroad program in East Africa and center director of The SFS Center for Wildlife Management Studies in Kenya, Award at the CNR Awards Celebration in Moscow, Idaho yesterday.

Dr. Okello was nominated for this honor, also called the CNR Mid-Career Professional Award, by Dr. Edward “Oz” Garton, Emeritus Professor of Fish and Wildlife Ecology and Statistics at the University of Idaho.  Garton and Okello met in 1989 when Okello was an undergraduate at Moi University in Kenya and Garton was teaching wildlife management and ecological methods there as a Fulbright Scholar. Okello, says Garton, was one of the most “outstanding” students in the graduating class at Moi. Subsequently, Garton asked Okello to come to Idaho to take a position on Garton's research project on pocket gophers and to begin graduate studies.

According to Garton, Okello thrived at the University of Idaho, completing a Master's degree and a thesis on pocket gopher ecology and management. He then went on to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Alberta. Upon completion of his Ph.D., Okello returned to Kenya where he became a faculty member in wildlife at his alma mater, Moi University.  Within five years he joined The School for Field Studies to teach wildlife management and public health in its renowned study abroad program.  In 2009, he was promoted to center director of the SFS Wildlife Management Studies program in Kenya, and successfully expanded it to Tanzania.

"I am greatly honored and humbled that my alma mater has recognized me in this way," said Okello. "When I came to Idaho to start my Masters, I had never left my hometown in Kenya. Being in Idaho opened my world and gave me the skills necessary to do my life's work in wildlife conservation in Kenya and the world.”

Dr. Okello has received several honors and awards since his appointment as an SFS faculty member in 1999, including substantial grants to fund research projects ranging from elephant conservation to community water management. Dr. Okello is also currently serving on the 2012 Indianapolis Prize Nominating Committee and Jury. The fourth biennial $100,000 Indianapolis Prize will be awarded at the Indianapolis Prize Gala on September 29, 2012, and represents the leading award for animal conservation in the world.

SFS Dean Dr. Robin Sears said, “We at SFS have a deep appreciation for Moses Okello as a colleague, as a teacher, and as a mentor and role model for our students and for junior staff members. Since 1999, Okello's professional development on the teaching faculty at SFS and now as senior director of the SFS Center for Wildlife Management in East Africa has been exceptional.  It is apparent that his foundation as a researcher and scholar was set at University of Idaho College of Natural Resources, and for that we are grateful.”



About The School for Field Studies: For more than 30 years, The School for Field Studies, the United States’ largest environmental study abroad program for college undergraduates, has combined hands-on, multi-disciplinary environmental studies with scientific research to propose sustainable solutions to critical environmental problems. SFS students work with local communities to discover practical ways to manage their natural resources, and in the process undergo a transformational experience that helps them to advance their careers as skilled professionals and to become globally aware citizens.

Leslie Granese