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John Ripley Forbes Edit Profile

educator , museum executive , naturalist

John Ripley Forbes, Museum executive, educator, naturalist. Recipient conservation award American Motors, 1971, William T. Hornaday gold medal, 1977, Founder's award Natural Science for Youth Foundation, 1979, Conservationist of Year award Georgia Wildlife Federation, 1991, Nature Educator of Year award Roger Tory Peterson Institute, 1995.


Forbes, John Ripley was born on August 25, 1913 in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States. Son of Kenneth Ripley and Ellen Elizabeth (Barker) Forbes.


Special student, University Iowa, 1933-1934; special student, Bowdoin College, 1934-1935; Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary), Bowdoin College, 1987.


Founder, director, Stamford (Connecticut) Museum, 1935-1937; ornithologist, taxidermist, Lee Museum Biology, Bowdoin College, MacMillan-Arctic Expedition, Labrador and Baffin Island., 1937; founder, director, William T. Hornaday Memorial Foundation, New York, 1938-1950; organizer, director, Kansas Missouri Museum, 1939-1941; founder, Nashville Children's Museum, 1944; acting director, Nashville Children's Museum, 1945-1946; trustee for life, Nashville Children's Museum, 1975; executive director, Jacksonville (Florida) Children's Museum, 1945; founder, Fernbank Children's Nature Museum, Atlanta, 1946; organizer, director, Oregon Museum Science and Industry, Portland, 1947-1949; founder, National Foundation for Junior Museum, New York director, National Foundation for Junior Museum, New York, 1951-1960; founder, Sacramento Junior Museum director, Sacramento Junior Museum, 1951-1953; co-founder, director operations, Nature Centers for Young American, 1959-1960; founder, president, Chairman of the Board, Natural Science for Youth Foundation, Connecticut, since 1961; founder, Big Cypress Nature Center, Naples, Florida, 1959. Organizer Fort Worth's Children's Museum, 1945.


Founder, president William T. Hornaday Memorial Trust, Connecticut, 1961-1977. Founder Mid-Fairfield County Youth Museum, Westport, Connecticut, 1958, president, 1963-1966, trustee for life, 1966. Founder American Association Youth Museum, 1964, honorary life member, 1976.

Co-founder, vice president Aspetuck Land Trust, Fairfield County. President St. John's on the Lake Association, New Hampshire, 1963-1964. President emeritus, trustee John and Anna Newton Porter Foundation, New Hampshire, 1974-1989.

Founder Outdoor Activity Center, Atlanta, chairman, 1977-1980. Founder Chattahoochee Nature Center, Roswell, Georgia, president, 1977-1978. Founder Reynolds Arboretum and Nature Preserve Morrow, Georgia, 1976.

Founder, president Lakes Region Conservation Trust, Meredith, New Hampshire, 1977. Founder Forbes Nature Center on Ragged Island Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, 1979. Trustee Hilla Von Rebay Foundation, 1968.

Trustee Milford (Pennsylvania) Reservation 1977, president 1977-1982 1983. Founder, president Natural Science Solar Center, Milford, Pennsylvania, 1983. Founder, trustee Cochran Mill Nature Center and Arboretum, Fairburn, Georgia, 1987.

Founder Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center, Alpharetta, Georgia, 1988. Founder, president Big Trees Forest Preserve, Sandy Springs, Georgia, 1984. Founder Camp Whitley at Lake Careco, Nature Center, Austell, Georgia, 1992.

Naturalist, lecturer on Bahia Paraiso, Argentine polar transport ship sunk near United States Palmer Base at Arthur Harbor, Antarctic Peninsula, 1989. Board member Environmental Advisory Commission State of Georgia, 1992-1994. With Medical Corps, United States Army Air Force, 1942-1945.

Member American Association Museum (chairman children's museum secretary 1965), National Audubon Society (life), American Nature Study Society, Nature Conservancy, Wilderness Society, American Ornithologist Union (life), New York Zoological Society, American Birding Association (life), National Wildlife Federation, Connecticut Conservation Association (president 1969-1970), Sierra Club, Audubon Society New Hampshire (president 1975) Clubs: Explorers (New York City). Mazamas (Portland, Oregon).


Married Margaret Sanders, December 10, 1951. Children: Ripley, Anne.

Kenneth Ripley Forbes

Ellen Elizabeth (Barker) Forbes

Margaret Sanders

Ripley Forbes

Anne Forbes