Athens, Ga. – A lifetime of experiences beginning with a love of fishing in Georgia’s rivers instilled in James Butler a deep regard for the environment. On March 7 at 4 p.m., Butler will speak in the University of Georgia Institute of Ecology auditorium about those events that led him to his passion of the environment, and subsequently his $1 million gift that established three graduate student fellowships.
“A Celebration of the Butler Fellowship Program at the UGA River Basin Center” will include Butler’s talk entitled “Origins of a Conservation Ethic,” the presentation of the inaugural Butler Fellows and a reception in the Ecology Lobby. All events are free and open to the public.
Butler’s gift will establish three Butler Fellowships in Ecology through the Institute of Ecology’s River Basin Center. The fellowships are for graduate students studying environmental issues including water quality and land use.
“Much of the important work of the River Basin Center and the Institute of Ecology is done by our students,” said Laurie Fowler, River Basin Center co-director. “Some of our student work is not only being used throughout the state, but even nationally and internationally. Jim’s gift allows us to attract the nation’s brightest students to work on environmental issues of vital concern to the state.”
Butler is a partner in the Columbus and Atlanta law firm of Butler, Wooten and Fryhofer. He is known for being a top plantiffs’ lawyer, and has won many landmark product liability cases. He is a trustee of the Arch Foundation for the University of Georgia, Inc.
“The future of our planet rests with how well we conserve and protect our natural resources,” said Institute of Ecology director John Gittleman. “Education is the answer to whether we will be able to adapt to the rapidly changing problems in the environment.”
With roots that date back to the 1950s, the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certification programs. Founder Eugene P. Odum is internationally recognized as a pioneer of ecosystem ecology. The institute is ranked eighth by U.S. News and World Report for its graduate program. For more information, visit http://www.ecology.uga.edu.