Award-winning field biologist and wildlife photojournalist Dr. Tim Laman will present the illustrated lecture “Tough Times for Orangutans” on Monday, May 2, at 3 p.m. at Hope College in room 1000 of the A. Paul Schaap Science Center.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
Laman is a freelance photographer and writer on natural history as well as a research associate in the Ornithology Department at Harvard University. He has been a regular contributor to National Geographic, with a focus on conservation and endangered species, since earning his doctorate from Harvard in 1994. His work takes him around the world, with his major emphasis being the Asia-Pacific region.
He and his wife, Boston University anthropologist Cheryl Knott, have long studied the orangutans of Indonesia’s Gunung Palung National Park, which are in decline due to deforestation and poaching. Their work was recently highlighted in the television program “Mission Critical: Orangutans on the Edge,” which premiered on Nat Geo WILD on Earth Day, Friday, April 22. Among other publications, their research has been featured in National Geographic, and they are co-authors of the children’s book “Face to Face with Orangutans.” Earlier this month, Laman was in Amsterdam in the Netherlands receiving first place in the Nature-Stories category in the 59th World Press Photo Contest for a photograph he took of a young Sumatran orangutan in Batang Toru Forest.
Laman, who is a 1983 graduate from Lexington, Massachusetts, will be in West Michigan in conjunction with receiving a Distinguished Alumni Award from the college on Saturday, April 30, during the college’s annual Alumni Weekend.
In addition to 21 feature stories on a variety of topics in National Geographic through the years, he has been the photographer or author and photographer of 29 articles in publications ranging from National Wildlife to Ranger Rick to BBC Wildlife to Atlas (Turkey) to GEO (Germany and France) to Terre Sauvage (France). In addition to “Face to Face with Orangutans,” his four books include the landmark “Birds of Paradise: Revealing the World’s Most Extraordinary Birds,” a chronicle of his multi-year effort, with ornithologist Dr. Edwin Scholes, to document all 39 species of New Guinea’s colorful “Birds of Paradise” for the first time. He has also co-authored 20 scientific articles, including four based on research that he conducted with faculty while a biology major at Hope.
His photography has garnered numerous awards, including the highest honor of the North American Natural Photography Association in 2009: the group’s annual “Outstanding Nature Photographer” Award. Eleven of his images have won recognition in the world’s top wildlife photography competition, the “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” awards, and he has won several prizes in the Nature’s Best International Photography awards, including first place in the birds and underwater categories. His images have also appeared in National Geographic’s “100 Best Photos” and “100 Best Wildlife Photos” special publications.
Laman has had solo exhibits of his photography featured in France, Japan, the Philippines and multiple cities in the United States, and has delivered more than 50 invited lectures around the world. He has also received numerous external grants in support of his research, exploration and conservation work, including nine from the National Geographic Society or National Geographic Expeditions Council. Other honors include an Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award from Harvard.
Laman also returned to Hope in 2004 to speak in conjunction with the opening celebration of the college’s A. Paul Schaap Science Center, and in 2013 to present an illustrated lecture about the “Birds of Paradise” project—the latter to a capacity audience in the DeWitt Center main theatre.
He is the son of the Rev. Dr. Gordon Laman, a 1956 Hope graduate, and the late Evon (Southland) Laman, a 1957 Hope graduate; and his sister Lisa and brother Greg graduated in 1988 and 1993 respectively. He and Cheryl have two children at home.
The A. Paul Schaap Science Center is located at 35 E. 12th St., at the corner of 12th Street and College Avenue.