Dr. Lee M. Talbot is an ecologist and geographer with over 60 years of experience in national and international environmental affairs, biodiversity conservation, management of wild living resources, environmental policies and institutions, environment and development, ecological research and advising in 134 countries.
His former positions have included, among others, Chief Scientist and Foreign Affairs Director of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality for three US Presidents including Nixon, Ford, and Carter; head of Environmental Sciences for the Smithsonian Institution; Director-General of IUCN – the World Conservation Union; member of over 20 committees and panels of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council; and Senior Scientific Advisor to the International Council of Scientific Unions. He is also a senior environmental advisor to World Bank and U.N. organizations. He has conducted over 130 exploration and research expeditions to remote or unknown areas on five continents. He is author of over 285 scientific, technical and popular publications including 17 books and monographs, with some translations in nine foreign languages.
The first Staff Ecologist of the IUCN, he subsequently, with his biologist wife, spent over six years conducting pioneering ecological research on the Serengeti-Mara Plains of East Africa. He has received several national and international awards and recognition for his scientific accomplishments, environmental work, popular and scientific writing, and documentary film. He was cited as “an acknowledged leader in the shaping of national and international environmental policies and principles” when receiving the Distinguished Service Award of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. He has been pivotal in shaping international environmental policy playing a significant role in authoring the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Dr. Talbot was also a major contributor to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Apart from his distinguished career in conservation biology, Dr. Talbot is also known for his car racing skills. He has raced professionally and otherwise for over 60 years, on four continents and in most kinds of race cars including sprint cars, sports cars, sports-racers, sedans, international rally cars, and formula cars. He has been the subject of numerous articles about his racing, including a profile in the AARP magazine in 2008, and he has also given many talks about racing, including an invited presentation on “The Intellectual Basis of Race Car Driving” to the prestigious Cosmos Club in Washington D.C. He has won many racing accolades including the SVRA “Driver of Year” award in 2010.