Focus: Cultural and Linguistic Influences on Environmental Perception
B.A., 1949, Williams College (English, Philosophy)
Ph.D, 1993, University of Vermont (Honorary)
Mind and Nature
Over the past 30 years he has made some 25 trips to East Africa where he began work in the early '60's as director of education for the Tanzania National Parks. There he developed one of the first public awareness programs in Africa devoted to the conservation of wildlife. Subsequently he was asked to develop similar programs for the national parks of Kenya and Uganda. Between 1982 and 1986 he worked with the Rendille tribe, a remote group of camel-raising nomads living in the northern desert of Kenya, to develop culturally appropriate ways to help them understand their own role in the spread of desert.
It was in the course of such work that he became interested in the role which language and culture play in shaping peoples' perception of their environment.
As a film maker he has produced several Swahili language documentaries on wildlife conservation which have been seen by literally millions of viewers throughout East Africa. He has also made a number of films for the U.S. Park Service.
His work with the International Division of the U.S. National Park Service has involved him in many projects covering a wide range of environmental concerns in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
Peace Corps invited him to help them develop programs to increase environmental awareness and understanding in a number of African, Central American and Caribbean countries, and to design training programs for Peace Corps volunteers to help them to "see" their own environmental biases before they began working with other cultures. He advises students, who, after graduation, wish to consider Peace Corps.
At present he is working to develop an educational program for the hundreds of thousands of rural Nepalis who visit the Kathmandu Zoo each year. Early in January of 1995, he went to India as part of a U.S. National Park Service team to work on the preservation of important Mughal Empire archeological sites in the city of Agra.
Bill and his wife Beryl live on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.