Kenneth M. Klemow, professor of biology at Wilkes University and director of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research for Northeast Pennsylvania, has been named a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. Klemow is among the first group of scientists to be awarded the prestigious designation, which is granted to members who have made outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by the society. It recognizes Klemow’s many contributions to the field of ecology and as an ecology educator.
In being named a fellow, Klemow is among a group of distinguished scientists and environmental researchers. They include such environmental luminaries as Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich, author of “Population Bomb” and president of Stanford’s Center for Conservation Biology, Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and E.O. Wilson of Harvard University, world-class researcher on biodiversity and global environmental change.
It is the second time in less than three years that Klemow has been recognized by the Ecological Society of America. In 2010, he was awarded its Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education. The award recognized Klemow as one of the top ecology educators in the United States. It is presented to an ecologist for outstanding work in education that has furthered ecological science through teaching, outreach and student mentoring.
Klemow, a native of Hazleton and resident of Kingston, is actively engaged in ecology education at the national level. He founded the Ecological Society’s education section, serving as its first chair in 1988. He has also taken a leadership role in projects aimed at helping undergraduate faculty nationwide use new technologies to improve their courses.
At Wilkes, Klemow helped launch the science careers of hundreds of students teaching such courses as general biology, field botany, medical botany and alternative energy, and has mentored one-on-one research projects with more than 80 students. His influence extends to elementary and secondary-level students in northeast Pennsylvania through ecological education activities at such events as Wyoming Valley Riverfest and Earth Day. In 2007, he launched an innovative series of podcast trail guides in Kirby Park to introduce hikers to natural features of the area.
Klemow’s research has included work on ecology of plants colonizing mine-impacted sites, wetland ecology and mapping, remediation of streams impacted by abandoned mine drainage and conservation of rare plants. Since 1993, he has been the recipient of more than $1.6 million in grant funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection, the Pa. Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation for a variety of projects.
As director of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research for Northeastern Pennsylvania, Klemow directs research and educational efforts to help the community reach consensus about sustainable, environmentally sound public policy on energy issues in the region.
Klemow joined Wilkes in 1982. He serves as curator of the University’s Rosenthal Herbarium. He was the recipient of the Carpenter Outstanding Teacher Award at Wilkes in 1991 and was honored with a certificate of merit for leadership and service by the Ecological Society of America in 2004.
He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and his master’s degree and doctorate from the State University of New York at Syracuse.