Her studies took her all over the world studying biodiversity and conservation. She spent more than 20 years as a faculty member at the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation in New York.
She was also an expert in strategic planning from a systems perspective and in implementation and evaluation of capacity development and served as deputy vice chair for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s World Commission on Protected Areas Core Capacity Development group.
Her adventures brought her to Hawaii a year ago, when she became director of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and she worked to develop a strategic plan to lead the facility into the future.
Her own future was cut short with the diagnosis in November of an aggressive case of pancreatic cancer. She passed away on Feb. 11.
Eleanor’s dedication and passion to science transcended her illness. Her husband, Kevin Frey, said in an online journal that she kept in touch with colleagues and worked to refine her strategic plan from her hospital bed. A week before her death, she was honored as the recipient of the Fred Packard Award from the IUCN WCPA, in recognition of her outstanding commitment to conservation, at the organization’s event in Vancouver, Canada on Feb. 6.
Eleanor’s work at HIMB will continue. The Eleanor J. Sterling Fund for HIMB, established by her friends, will ensure that the next director of HIMB will have the resources to carry out and build upon the vision set by Eleanor. Your contribution to that fund will ensure that happens.
“The No. 1 way to honor Eleanor continues to be to Live Life Like Eleanor or LLLE,” her friend Louise Packard wrote in a post on Eleanor’s online journal. “But what pleasure it will also give Eleanor to hear of a flood of gifts of all sizes that honor her passion and help achieve her vision. Let’s see what we can do together as a community.”
» More: In memoriam: Global conservationist, groundbreaking scientist Eleanor Sterling
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