American Alpine Club Honors The Mountain Institute’s Director of Research and Education

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Dr. Alton C. Byers, Director of Research and Education at The Mountain Institute, received the prestigious David Brower Conservation Award from the American Alpine Club at its annual meetings in Attatash, New Hampshire on 10 February 2006. The award was created in 1991 to emphasize The American Alpine Club's commitment to preserving mountain regions worldwide, and is given annually to “a person who has made important contributions to the protection of mountain environments and whose active personal role deserves public recognition”.

Dr. Alton C. Byers, Director of Research and Education at The Mountain Institute, received the prestigious David Brower Conservation Award from the American Alpine Club at its annual meetings in Attatash, New Hampshire on 10 February 2006. The award was created in 1991 to emphasize The American Alpine Club's commitment to preserving mountain regions worldwide, and is given annually to “a person who has made important contributions to the protection of mountain environments and whose active personal role deserves public recognition”.

David Brower (1912 - 2000) was an active alpinist and member of the famed 10th Mountain Division with over seventy first ascents of mountains in the American west. He was a pioneer in the environmental movement in the U.S. and abroad, and was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in conservation.

Byers is a mountain geographer who has worked for more than 30 years to protect mountain ecosystems and improve the livelihoods of mountain people in the U.S., China, Nepal, India, Mongolia, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. His current interests include the conservation of the world’s alpine ecosystems by mobilizing local communities; impacts of climate change and glacier recession on people’s lives and livelihoods in high mountain regions; and co-editing a new mountain geography textbook. He lives with his wife, Elizabeth, an ecologist at the Division of Natural Resources; and 17-year old daughter, Barbara Lee, in Elkins, West Virginia. His son, Daniel, is a sophomore at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Speaking on Byers’ work in the Everest region of Nepal, Peter Ackroyd, Chairman of the American Alpine Club’s International Conservation Committee, said that "From my involvement with Alton on the Mount Everest Alpine Conservation and Restoration project I can say that he is passionately concerned with using his knowledge and skills to protect and restore mountain environments. He also strongly believes that the education, involvement, and commitment of the local population is key for the success of any project, and the Khumbu Alpine Conservation Council [a 23-member managing council of local Sherpa people established in 2003) is a testament to his ability to inspire a community to take control. He is constantly looking for new opportunities to improve the habitat and lot of the mountains and the people we all so enjoy and I think we will see many more excellent projects from him in the future. It has been a pleasure and education to work with him."

The Mountain Institute is an international conservation and community development organization headquartered in Washington, DC with offices in Elkins, West Virginia; Nepal, China, and Peru.

Bob Davis

President and CEO

The Mountain Institute

(202) 452-1636

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Lyn Soudien