Seeking out the desert tortoises which have charmed him for three decades, desert biologist Tim Shields has walked a number of miles equivalent to circumnavigating the Earth. Over thousands of daysÍ careful observation he has helped unlock secrets of tortoise biology which will lead directly to the preservation of this bellwether species. Shields is an integral member of the scientific team that documented the tortoiseÍs decline and whose work led to its listing as a threatened species.
Frustrated by the mental roadblocks humans set for themselves, and looking for efficacious new means to help desert species thrive, Tim has stepped outside ordinary thought patterns about conservation. He is now engaging the brightest minds available in engineering, education, business, Earth systems and games. His company, Hardshell Labs, is developing novel combinations of emergent technologies to provide solutions to a simple but critical problem: how to make conservation not only meaningful but fun, thus attracting many more active participants.
Tim co-founded and for seven years was executive director of Takshanuk Watershed Council, a very successful watershed conservation and public education non-profit. He is also an accomplished wildlife artist, drama coach and morning host of a public radio show in his home town, Haines, Alaska. His artwork has appeared in numerous publications and prestigious traveling exhibitions. His perspectives on conservation biology have been quoted by CNN, the Los Angeles Times Magazine and the Sierra Club. A chapter in a forthcoming book on desert conservation to be published by Death Valley National Park will present his prescriptions for ensuring the survival of the desert tortoise. He has also authored, co-authored and illustrated numerous scientific papers.