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Harriman Expedition Retraced

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Tom Litwin

Project Creator and Director


Tom Litwin

Tom Litwin, the Harriman Expedition Retraced Project Director.
Tom Litwin is entirely at ease tracking alone through a dense New England forest or sailing on Maine's Penobscot Bay. However, he is equally at ease in his office at Smith College, where he is the Director of Smith College's Clark Science Center. "I thrive," he says, "on diversity of ideas, the complexity of issues, and the richness of interdisciplinary conversation that take place at Clark Science Center." On any given day, his conversations range from astronomy, physics, and mathematics to zoology, neuroscience, and biochemistry. "I am looking forward to the same sort of rich exchange aboard the Clipper Odyssey this summer, when scholars and artists from many disciplines come together to explore Alaska's coast."

Litwin's interdisciplinary perspective extends to his own research and teaching. As an avian ecologist and conservation biologist, he routinely examines the relationship between wildlife and human populations. Whether studying landscape patterns and bird diversity, or the productivity of Least Terns on recreational beaches, he finds that humans are an integral part of the ecosystem within which they live. With this understanding, his greatest challenge is to assist in the development of policies that benefit people and wildlife alike.

Growing up on Long Island's Great South Bay, Litwin was strongly influenced by the force of changing tides and smell of saltwater. His early interest in nature and concern for the careful use of natural resources took him to Hartwick College for undergraduate studies, and on to Cornell University's Laboratory of Ornithology, where he received a Ph.D. in 1979. Prior to joining the Smith College community in 1989, Litwin served as a Senior Research Associate at Cornell's Division of Biological Sciences and as program director at the Lab of Ornithology. What is he looking forward to most on the Harriman Retraced Expedition? "Falling asleep with the sound of the ocean rushing over the Clipper Odyssey's hull."

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For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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