After a long life and successful career as a forester, doctor Frank H. Wadsworth, Advisor of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico from 1978 to 1987 and Advisor Emeritus since 2020, passed away at age 106 on Jan. 5 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Wadsworth was born on November 26, 1915 in Chicago, Illinois and earned his doctorate in forestry from the University of Michigan. In 1942, this pioneer in the study of forest conservation and management settled in Puerto Rico and began working as a scientist for the U.S. Forest Service. In 1956, he was appointed supervisor of the Caribbean National Forest and later became director of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry.
In each of his roles, he conducted more than a hundred investigations and wrote multiple books on the biodiversity of the El Yunque National Forest and other forest reserves of the Caribbean archipelago. Among them: “Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands” (1964-1989), co-authored with Elbert Little, and “Flora of Virgin Gorda” (1976), with Little and RO Woodbury.
Wadsworth also helped found the Puerto Rico Natural History Society in 1960 and the Santa Ana Environmental Center in Bayamón, which began operations in 2016.
For much of his life, this “patriot of nature” was part of the Boy Scouts of America, specifically a group called “Nature Patrol” that he founded in 1952 with the purpose of training the younger generations in environmental conservation.
“For me, Frank is and will always be my guide in the conservation agenda we have as a country. I treasure having known, shared and enjoyed his passion for life,” says Fernando Lloveras, President of Para la Naturaleza.
His important research and countless experiences made him a reference for those who promote the conservation of tropical forests on the island. We thank him for his legacy, which transcends generations and will continue to live on in those of us who knew him and, like him, seek to protect the forests of Puerto Rico.