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Lauren D. Pharr Receives Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award

image: Lauren smiles while holding a clipboard, a pole with a camera, and a spotting scope.
Credit: Mike Fernandez, National Audubon Society.

For immediate release

Lauren D. Pharr, contributing editor for Coastwatch magazine and third-year Ph.D. student in North Carolina State University’s College of Natural Resources, has earned the 2023 Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award for Young Conservationist of the Year. Sponsored by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, the awards program highlights people and organizations that have worked for conservation in the state.

As an avian ecologist, Pharr’s research takes her to the North Carolina Sandhills, where she helps with conservation of the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, studying how climate change may affect the species’ population.

image: Coastwatch cover.
Pharr received a science writing award for her cover story “Wings of Change” in the Spring 2022 issue of Coastwatch magazine.

As an award-winning science communicator, she has authored several seminal articles for North Carolina Sea Grant’s Coastwatch magazine, including writings on the intersection of science and environmental justice. She also holds editorial positions with The Wildlife Society and The Nature Conservancy. Her research and conservation leadership have been featured on PBS SciNC, NC State University News, and the Raleigh News & Observer.

“Lauren finds the time to ensure that some of the most vulnerable people in our society have access to the opportunities that an inclusive wildlife exposure and education can offer,” says Stacy Nelson, professor and interim associate dean for diversity and inclusion at NC State’s College of Natural Resources. “She is also an amazing role model and leader for young professionals and young men and women of color.”

Pharr serves at the College of Natural Resources’ lead peer-mentor for their student peer mentoring program, which works with a number of students who are a part of the HBCU-Tuskegee University 3+2 program. She also serves two separate USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture National Needs Fellowship programs.

Last year, Pharr co-founded Field Inclusive, Inc., a nonprofit designed to amplify and support marginalized and historically excluded biologists and researchers in the natural science field.

“Although these accolades are wonderful and surely validating — getting to see the impact that my work is having on others is what really matters to me,” Pharr says. “Of course, I couldn’t do it without the help and support of my wonderful advisors, mentors, and collaborators. The faces of conservation are changing, and I am so honored that I can say I was a part of that change.”

Read about the 2023 Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award.