B.L. Turner II honored for career’s research and mentoring

B. L. Turner II arrived at ASU in 2008 as a well-recognized leader in sustainability science. His work investigating how changes in land use affect people and the environment had earned him membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Asssociation of for the Advancement of Science, along with other awards and titles.

Late this May, he added another honor, as recipient of the Preston E. James Eminent Latin Americanist Career Award, granted by the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers in recognition of life-time achievement towards understanding of the geography of Latin America.

Turner received the award at the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers’ annual meeting, held in late May in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Claudia Radel, a professor at Utah State University and a former student, coordinated over a dozen of Turner’s former and current students to collectively craft a testimonial to Turner.  The testimonial was presented at the May conference.

Excerpts from the testimonial

“(Turner’s) career as a Latin Americanist geographer began with his studies of pre-Columbian agriculture in the Mayan lowlands and transitioned to agricultural change, land use and land cover change, sustainability and vulnerability, and more recently to landscape architecture.”

“He pioneered interdisciplinary work through his own diverse pursuits and his ability to work with scholars from other fields long before interdisciplinarity became the norm.”

“Billie has used his regional grounding in Mesoamerica to engage in important ways with global conversations both within the discipline of geography (shaping the evolution of human-environment geography) and within a larger land change science community informing national and international policy.”

“Importantly, Billie has trained a new generation of Latin Americanists—mentoring them toward a diverse range of successful careers. As described by his first student, Bill Doolittle, Billie was ‘the best advisor ever’—‘supportive, demanding, personable, and professional.’  His generosity as an advisor, which extends beyond graduation and first jobs, has inspired an equally remarkable loyalty and motivation among his former students."

The full testimonial is available here.