Eleanor Sterling, Jaffe Chief Conservation Scientist, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC), American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) Dr. Eleanor Sterling is passionate about the intersection between biodiversity, culture, and languages. She works to strengthen connections, between people and place, across communities, and through time. She has interdisciplinary training in biological and social sciences and has over 30 years of field research and community outreach experience with direct application to biodiversity conservation in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Oceania. She believes in addressing problems from a systems perspective, understanding root causes and motivations, and identifying key leverage points. She has a lifelong fascination with languages and has studied over 10 languages, from Vietnamese to Swahili. She is also a world authority on the aye-aye, an unusual nocturnal lemur endemic to Madagascar. She lived in a tent for two years on an uninhabited island in Madagascar to study this fascinating animal. She has a long history of engagement on equity and inclusion issues, and co-founded the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee of the Society for Conservation Biology as well as the Women in Natural Sciences New York chapter of the Association for Women in Science.

Years: 1960 – 2023

Hometown: Haverstraw, NY

Education: Ph.D. in Anthropology and Forestry

Occupation: Conservation biologist

Expeditions: Bolivia, Vietnam, Madagascar, Solomon Islands, Palmyra Atoll..

Favorite Place: Nosy Mangabe, Madagascar

Best Discovery: Aye-aye mating system

Favorite Item In The Field: Write-in-the-rain notebook

Personal Hero: Alison Richard, my father

Hobbies: Quilting, sewing stuffy toys, reading, languages

Website: https://manoa.hawaii.edu/biocultural/sterling/

Advice: Be curious, practice deep listening, test out various careers until vou find the one that makes your heart sing.