In honor of Don Melnick
Rare are the occasions, unfortunately, that we can say we have lost a human jewel when someone leaves. This is the sentiment we have with the passing of Don Melnick. Don was a friend of IPÊ since he met us in 1993, through his wife, Mary Pearl, a conservationist, partner and friend, today an institutional board member.
Professor at Columbia University, a renowned researcher in genetics and evolution, Don spent his life spreading knowledge linked to conservation and sustainability, bringing people together and opening doors so those good things could happen across the planet. He contributed significantly to IPÊ’s history, annually bringing students from his distinguished University for courses and internships at our headquarters or field projects. He produced documents, published in diverse media, and gave lectures that shifted the track of history.
Confidence was one of his qualities, which in fact were countless. He detected the qualities of people or institutions and fertilized the soil with knowledge and interconnections so that promising projects could germinate and flourish. Integrity was another quality that marked his personal and professional life. In addition, he inspired audacity and innovation, always with discretion, not calling attention to himself, but to the causes he defended. A true leader – one to be followed.
Happy are those who had the luck of crossing his paths. IPÊ had more than that. The institution was privileged to have walked close to him for so many years, making dreams become reality. We will miss you, Don Melnick. The planet too! May you find another spot where you can propagate good things as you did in your short stay here with us. Our warm and sincere hug with great tenderness and gratitude. Please be assured, wherever you may be, that Mary and your kids, Memy and Seth, will always be welcomed at IPÊ with immense love.
1 – Claudio Padua and Don Melnick in the first class of the IPÊ Professional Master in Conservation and Sustainability
2 – Don Melnick (first / left) visit the first office of the IPÊ in Manaus (Amazon)