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Boone County Man Takes State Nature Preserve's Highest Honor

The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC) has presented its Biological Diversity Protection Award to Loran D. Gibson, of Florence.

The annual award is given to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to the knowledge and protection of Kentucky’s biodiversity. 

Gibson has been engaged in a fervent study of insects, in particular moths and butterflies, for nearly 50 years. He has been a member of the Society of Kentucky Lepidopterists, an organization formed to foster camaraderie and to help document the butterfly and moth fauna of Kentucky since its inception in 1974.

KSNPC Director Donald S. Dott Jr. said Gibson is one of those very special individuals who inspire us to better work. 

“He has made extensive contributions to our knowledge of moths and butterflies and other insect groups in Kentucky and he has done nearly all of it on his own time as a private individual,” Dott said. “Loran’s many accomplishments are testimony that conservation is a calling for all of us, not just government agencies and nonprofits.”

Gibson’s contributions to the study of Lepidoptera are so significant that University of Louisville professor Dr. Charles Covell Jr. dedicated his 1999 book about Kentucky’s moths and butterflies to Gibson. Gibson has described species new to science; co-authored several journal articles; co-authored a book on small moths known as tortricids; and mentored many fellow lepidopterists.

In recognition of Gibson’s significant body of work, Dr. Covell and fellow colleague Dr. Donald Wright named a moth,Epiblema gibsoni, after him in 2008.

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