Professor Michael Manfredo was recently honored by his alma mater, Pennsylvania State University, with the Alumni Recognition Award from the College of Health and Human Development.
This award — doled out once a year to one individual — is presented to alumni who have demonstrated professional excellence and exemplary voluntary community involvement in health and human development.
Manfredo, who is head of the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources in the Warner College of Natural Resources, was selected for his extensive research in the social aspects of natural resources and for informing decisions related to how humans value, use and depend on the natural environment.
His recent research is in wildlife value orientations, which examines how we tend to think about wildlife like our ancestors.
Manfredo was chosen from more than 50,000 Penn State HHD alumni, and was one of four award recipients from the eight departments in the College of Health and Human Development at its ceremony in early November.
With this award, Manfredo joins a prestigious group of philanthropists, academics, entrepreneurs, policymakers and medical professionals. “I am grateful to be a part of the Penn State community, which exhibits high levels of pride and unity amongst its graduates,” he said.
Winners are selected by an alumni panel, following a nomination process. The panel makes its decision after reading letters of support that speak to professional accomplishments, community contributions and how the nominee’s activities have improved the lives of individuals.
Changing how we think about wildlife
Manfredo has been a principal investigator on more than 75 projects and author of more than 134 publications related to the social aspects of natural resource management.
One notable publication is Who Cares About Wildlife?, a book that was published in 2008. In the book, he connects human emotions, attitudes, values and ideologies to better understand how people relate to nature and the subsequent implications for management and wildlife conservation.
“Wildlife holds a special place in the human consciousness,” Manfredo writes in the book. “It is a source of attraction and fear, material value and symbolic meaning, religious or spiritual significance, and it is a barometer of people’s concern for environmental sustainability.”