It is with great sadness that the GBIF community has learned of the death of Dr Leonard Hirsch, one of its founders and most influential supporters.
Dr Hirsch, of the Smithsonian Institution, was on the steering group that established GBIF in 2001 following the recommendation of OECD science ministers in 1999.
In subsequent years, he represented the United States at several meetings of the GBIF Governing Board and worked tirelessly to promote understanding of GBIF’s work both nationally and in the global arena.
Donald Hobern, GBIF Executive Secretary, said: “The whole GBIF community owes Len Hirsch a great debt for the stalwart support he gave over the years, and the active role he played in bringing GBIF into existence and helping to steer it as its governing principles were established.
“He will be sorely missed.”
Peter Schalk, chair of the GBIF Governing Board, added: “Len Hirsch was a remarkable character who was part of the GBIF family right from the beginning. A wonderful and very engaged person who never feared to speak up and share his thoughts, and who has done much for stimulating the interaction between delegates.
“He was a good and appreciated friend to GBIF. We will miss him.”