Distinguished Conservationist & U of A Professor Dies


A distinguished former University of Arkansas professor died in December.

The U of A’s Twitter page announced that Douglas Arthur James died on Dec. 17.

James was 93 years old.

The Twitter post said that James was a fixture in the Department of Biological Sciences and that he retired in 2016 after 64 years with the university.

“At his retirement, he had become the longest-serving professor in UARK history,” the Twitter post said.

James was born on July 25, 1925, in Detroit, Mich., according to The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture website.

James taught zoology at the U of A since 1953. His area of expertise was ecology, ornithology and vertebrate biology.

James was awarded three Fulbright Scholarship Awards over the years to teach and do research in Ghana, Nepal and Belize. He was granted a Visiting Scholar Fellowship to the University of Cambridge to do research there in the mid 1990s.

James’ long research career had been supported by grant money totaling over $1.5 million from a variety of national/state agencies and public institutions.

James was regarded as the authority of birds in Arkansas, co-authoring Arkansas Birds with Joseph C. Neal in 1986, according to The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.

“James became one of the state’s leading conservationists in the second half of the last century, helping to start the Arkansas Audubon Society in 1955 and the Arkansas Audubon Society Trust in 1972,” the Encyclopedia’s website states.

James also arranged the first meeting of what would become the Ozark Society, which was responsible for saving the Buffalo River from damming. 

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