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Pioneers of Environmental Protection

Dr. Archie Carr

Dr. Archie Carr

June 16, 1909 in Mobile, Alabama

Died: May 21, 1987 at his home on Wewa Pond near Micanopy, Florida


bullet First to earn doctorate in zoology from the University of Florida, 1937
bullet Known as the "father of sea turtle research"
bullet Founding scientific director of Caribbean Conservation Corporation
bullet Started and directed the U.S. Navy?s "Operation Green Turtle," 1960?s
bullet Wrote 10 books and over 120 papers and articles
bullet Father to five children

Environmental Legacy

Archie Carr was the first to bring international attention to the plight of the sea turtle, and he pioneered the study of Florida?s less appreciated residents, from tree frogs to snakes.

An internationally renowned zoologist, Carr roamed Florida?s semi-tropical expanses and researched its vast wildlife for more than 50 years. He is responsible for accumulating and distributing much of what is known about the biology and life cycle of sea turtles.

Fluent in many languages, Carr traveled the world as a research and consulting biologist. As a result, his knowledge of world ecosystems was legendary. But his focus was almost entirely on turtles. Carr?s work taught him to see the world, as few people have, through the eyes of other species. He was acutely aware of destructive change.

In the 1960s, Carr started and directed the U. S. Navy?s "Operation Green Turtle," a project to distribute green turtle eggs and hatchlings from Tortuguero, in Costa Rica, to remote nesting beaches around the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. This effort resulted a dramatic recovery in the nesting green turtle population.

For 20 years, he was the chairman of the Marine Turtle Specialist Group, forging and directing the international movement for the conservation of sea turtles. He fought against the commercial "ranching" of sea turtles and the sale of their products. Carr was a professor in the University of Florida zoology department for more than 30 years, reaching its most distinguished academic position, Graduate Research Professor.

Carr dedicated his life to preserving wild Florida and its native creatures. He said of preservation, "If this difficult saving is done, it will (be done) because man is a creature who preserves things that stir him."

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection honored the memory of the Carrs with the dedication of the Archie and Marjorie Harris Carr Building in Tallahassee, which houses the Department?s Division of State Lands, among other divisions.

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