JAMESTOWN - Anton (Twan) Leenders has been named the fifth president and chief executive officer of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History by its board of trustees.
For 17 years, Dr. Leenders has actively pursued conservation research, education, field projects and program management in the United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea and the Netherlands, of which he is a native.
Currently a resident of Connecticut, Dr. Leenders has been involved with research and collection management of the Vertebrate Zoology collections at Yale University's Peabody Museum of Natural History. He was assistant professor of biology at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., and most recently served as conservation biologist for the Connecticut Audubon Society.
Anton (Twan) Leenders
At the Connecticut Audubon Society, he developed novel conservation and habitat management projects in conjunction with landowners and has expanded their Science & Conservation Office by establishing partnerships with academia, state and federal governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and the public.
Dr. Leenders, who is known as Twan to family and friends, took his higher education degrees in The Netherlands, culminating with the doctoral exam in biology at Radboud University Nijmegen in 1988. Until coming to Connecticut in 2000, Twan lived and worked in various countries in Central America where he carried out biodiversity studies for universities and conservation organizations and managed a remote rainforest preserve in Costa Rica. Though in the past four years he has mostly concentrated on conservation of birds and their habitats in Connecticut, his prior work focused on the study of amphibians and reptiles in Central America. His research on several endangered amphibian populations in Costa Rica continues today.
As an artist and photographer, Dr. Leenders maintains a database of over 230 original illustrations and 150,000 photographic images. His works are used for educational purposes and displays at the Royal Ontario Museum, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, the California Academy of Sciences and Smithsonian's new 'BioMuseo' in Panama City, Panama. At CAS he served as editor-in-chief of the annual publication 'Connecticut State of the Birds.'
Dr. Leenders is married to the former Caroline (Casey) Redington, and they are the parents of two children, Madeleine, 6, and Jason, 3. Casey Redington is the daughter of Caran and Dick Redington of Ashville. The Leenders family will move to Chautauqua County in mid-summer as Dr. Leenders begins his duties at RTPI at the end of July.