Radcliffe honored for wildlife preservation community partnerships
By Ashlee McGandy

Robin Radcliffe, senior lecturer in wildlife and conservation medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is the recipient of the 2018 George D. Levy Faculty Award in recognition of his exemplary and sustained work with community partners. Radcliffe received the award at the Community Engagement Showcase April 16.

Building on his longstanding relationships with the World Wildlife Fund’s Ujung Kulon Program and the Jane Goodall Institute, Radcliffe spearheaded a new community-engaged course in 2015 in which doctoral students in veterinary medicine and undergraduate students get hands-on experience in the conservation of endangered Indonesian Rhinoceroses and African great apes through experiences at established field sites.

“Our partners bring sustainability and continuity to our student-engaged learning,” Radcliffe said. “This happens through mentorship that begins right here at Cornell with visits by Jane Goodall Institute and World Wildlife Fund scientists to our classrooms and continues in field settings from the Republic of Congo and Uganda to Indonesia. Students live once-in-a-lifetime experiences working with great apes and rhinoceroses and come away with a new world view that links species conservation with community engagement.”

During the field experiences, students learn about the cultural and economic pressures that contribute to species risk and engage in science-based mitigation strategies while employing the concept of One Health, a holistic approach to medicine that considers animal, environmental and human health and sustainability. Students then share their new knowledge with local communities – creating lasting partnerships, building local capacity for conservation and reaching beneficial solutions for humans and animals.

The Levy Award honors collaborative decision-making that incorporates community voice into the design, implementation and evaluation of projects; community capacity building; the integration of student learning outcomes into course design and delivery; and intentional planning for sustained partnerships. It includes a $5,000 award that Radcliffe will use to expand local community outreach with Roots & Shoots, Jane Goodall’s flagship program for children and young adults.

“At the award dinner, I was honored to meet three generations of the Levy family – a cohesive and globally engaged community of their own who have remarkable and heartwarming connections to Cornell University that embrace a long tradition of caring for people and our world,” added Radcliffe.

Radcliffe developed this project with the support of an Engaged Faculty Fellowship and an Engaged Curriculum Grant.