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This year’s Fellows bring expertise on the relationships between art, society, and the natural world
SAN FRANCISCO (March 4, 2021) – The California Academy of Sciences in partnership with The Bernard Osher Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Osher Fellows. Just one aspect of a decades-long relationship with the Foundation, the Fellowship attracts “thinkers-in-residence” from the fields of science, art, design, and policy to elevate the Academy’s public engagement and science learning programs.
“We are thrilled to welcome this year’s Osher Fellows to the Academy,” says Dr. Scott Sampson, Academy Executive Director and William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair. “Both Fellows arrive at a pivotal moment not only in the Academy’s history, but in our societal and planetary history as well. We look forward to the innovations and insights this year’s Fellows bring as we continue to work towards a thriving future for both natural and human communities.”
This year, Dr. Suzanne Pierre and Walter Kitundu lend their expertise to help the Academy and the communities it serves to rethink humanity’s relationship with nature. As creative thought leaders in their respective fields, both Fellows bring invaluable experience that will foster more inclusive spaces and innovative ways for the public to engage with science and nature.
Brief biographies for this year’s Fellows are below.
2021 Osher Fellows
Dr. Suzanne Pierre
Dr. Suzanne Pierre is a global change ecologist, biogeochemist, and environmental educator. Her scientific expertise centers on climate change and the chemical interactions between plants, microbes, and the non-living environment. She is currently a visiting researcher in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California Berkeley. Pierre is the founder and director of the Critical Ecology Lab, a nonprofit research group that collaborates with academic and community-based organizations to examine the social drivers of environmental change. During her Fellowship, Pierre will be working alongside staff across the institution to examine the Academy’s emerging strategic direction through an ecosystems and anti-racist lens. She will also be working on her book project exploring the consequences of oppressive social systems for global elemental cycles and our planetary future.
Walter Kitundu is an artist, educator, and naturalist who creates kinetic sculptures, sonic installations, and extraordinary musical instruments that explore the intersection between built and natural environments. Kitundu has created instruments driven by natural elements and phenomena, including wind, earthquakes, birds, and light. In 2008, he received a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his skill and creativity. His work can be found around the world and throughout the Bay Area, where he previously resided and continues to draw inspiration from. During his Fellowship, Kitundu will be partnering with the Academy to create a place-based experience or program that embodies his fascination with the natural world and its processes while engaging a diverse set of visitors with Bay Area flora and fauna.