NAU Regents Professor honored at world ecology conference

Wally Convington

William “Wally” Covington, a Regents Professor of forest ecology in NAU’s School of Forestry, is being honored during the Society for Ecological Restoration International 19th annual conference in Perth, Australia, this week.

Covington is receiving the prestigious Theodore M. Sperry Award, whose namesake is recognized for restoring Wisconsin prairie land and mentoring with conservationist Aldo Leopold.

The award honors individuals who have made a significant advancement to the science or technique used in restoration practices, such as Covington’s restoration work in ponderosa pine ecosystems on the Intermountain West. Covington also works to promote ecological restoration legislation and is founder and director of NAU’s Ecological Restoration Institute.

“When you are drawn to the vast ponderosa pine forests and spend decades diagnosing and treating them as if they were a sick patient, you become very focused on finding solutions to restore health,” Covington said. “I am extremely honored and enthusiastically encouraged.”

The society’s awards committee also cited Covington’s contribution to the basic understanding of the structure and function of ponderosa pine forests and his record of publishing information about restoration ecology.

“More than any other single individual, Wally Covington has provided the combination of science and vision for restoration of ponderosa pine forests of North America, where he has worked for more than 30 years, both as a graduate student and then as a member of the faculty of NAU,” said Alan Unwin, chair for the society’s awards committee.