Gary P. Nabhan, Ph.D.


Gary P. Nabhan, Ph.D.
Gary Nabhan
Center for Sustainable Environments
Northern Arizona University
City, State, ZIP
Hanly Hall, Bldg. 007 Box 5765, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011
[email protected]
Award year


Project Details

Nabhan's fellowship project focused on in situ conservation of plant genetic resources in the desert borderlands of the U.S. and Mexico. He built new coalitions of researchers and local peoples to better care for lands rich in unique plants. It was through such an alliance, formed with Mexican, American and Seri Indian activists and researchers on both sides of the border, that he was able to get the ironwood protected by the Mexican government. Nabhan also negotiated with the U.S. Forest Service for them to join in a memorandum of understanding with Native Seeds/SEARCH to research, plan and experimentally manage a 5,000-acre botanical area for six wild relatives of crops, including the chiltepin and 11 other rare species.


Gary Nabhan is the director of Northern Arizona University's Center for Sustainable Environments. Previously he served as Director of Science at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, where he coordinated the Forgotten Pollinators Campaign and assisted indigenous peoples with biosphere reserve plans. He is also co-founder and board chairman of Native Seeds/SEARCH, a grass-roots conservation organization dedicated to preserving and providing native seedstock and technical advice to native farmers. Nabhan has been coordinating cross-cultural teams of scientists, resource managers and businessmen/artisans in efforts to protect the traditional biological resources of the desert, which are imperiled by NAFTA and other international pressures.



Ph.D., University of Arizona
1983: Arid Lands Resources, Arizona, USA

Master of Science, University of Arizona
1978: Plant Sciences, Arizona, USA

Bachelor of Arts, Prescott College
1973: Environmental Biology, USA


Seed Savers Exchange
Former: Vice-President

Species Survival Commission
Former: Member


Marine Fellow
1990: Pew Fellows Program in Conservation and the Environment

Excellence in research in a museum setting
1990: Arizona Museum Association

Southwest Book Award for Gathering the Desert
1987: Border Regional Library Association

John Burroughs Medal for Best Nature Book
1986: American Museum of Natural History


  • Nabhan, G.P. 1997. Cultures of Habitat: On Nature, Culture, and Story. Counterpoint, Washington DC
  • Nabhan, G.P. 1994. Songbirds, Truffles, and Wolves: An American Naturalist in Italy. Penguin USA
  • Nabhan, G.P. and S. Trimble. 1994. The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places. Beacon Press, Boston, MA
  • Nabhan, G.P. 1991. Enduring Seeds: Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation. North Point Press
  • Brand, J., J. Snow, G.P. Nabhan and A. Tradwick. 1990. Plasma glucose and insulin responses to traditional Pima Indian meals. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 51:416-420
  • Nabhan, G.P. 1990. El papel de la ethnobotanica en la conservacion de recursos fitogeneticos en reservas de la biosfera. BIOTAM 1(2): 1-4
  • Nabhan, G.P. 1990. The desert smells like rain: A naturalist in Papago Indian country. In: Norton Anthology of Nature Writing (R. Finch and J. Elder eds.). Norton, New York, NY, p. (RCR Press, Sarasota, FL.
  • Nabhan, G.P., M. Slater and L. Yarger. 1990. New crops for small farmers in marginal lands? Wild chilies as a case study. In: Agroecology and Small Farm Development (M. Altieri and S. Hect eds.). CRC Press, Sarasota, FL, p. 17-23
  • Nabhan, G.P. 1989. Seeds of renewal. World Monitor 2(1): 17-20
  • Nabhan, G.P. 1987. Gathering the Desert

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