Orlando Science Center’s inaugural Inspiring Innovation Gala, this Friday, October 13, will honor Dr. Peter C. H. Pritchard of Oviedo, who has been recognized worldwide for his achievements in turtle and tortoise conservation.
Pritchard was born in England, raised in Northern Ireland, and relocated to Florida in 1965. He is currently an adjunct professor of biology at University of Central Florida, and he is founder and director of the Chelonian Research Institute in Oviedo. The institute houses a collection of over 14,500 specimens — the world’s third-largest turtle and tortoise museum collection — built without killing any live animals. The collection is open to visits from school groups, international researchers and the general public.
Throughout his career in conservation, some of Pritchard’s most well-known achievements have included rescuing Kemp’s Ridley turtles in Mexico, resulting in a 20-year increase of the species’ population; and educating the Arawak people of Guyana to instill a more protective attitude toward wildlife, which garnered accolades from National Geographic and other international media.
There are four species of turtle named after Pritchard, the Discovery Channel recognized him as “Champion of the Wild,” TIME magazine named him a “Hero of the Planet,” and he has been declared “Floridian of the Year” by Orlando Sentinel. Pritchard is distinguished in the scientific community and is the recipient of the Turtle Conservancy’s Conservation Achievement Award, the Sea Turtle Society’s Kemp’s Ridley Research Award, and the prestigious John Behler Award for turtle conservation.
Funds raised at the Inspiring Innovation Gala will support both Orlando Science Center and the Chelonian Research Institute, as well as toward developing a new program initiative at Orlando Science Center named for Pritchard.
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