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Press Release

World-Renowned Primatologist Biruté Galdikas Comes to Metro State April 21

Metropolitan State College of Denver Associate Professor of Anthropology Catherine Gaither and 15-year-old Niwot High School freshman Kristen Nordham are just two local examples of the 100s of people primatologist Biruté Mary Galdikas, has inspired through her four decades of research on orangutans.


Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705

Posted: April 6, 2011



(Denver, Colo.) —  Metropolitan State College of Denver Associate Professor of Anthropology Catherine Gaither and 15-year-old Niwot High School freshman Kristen Nordham are just two local examples of the 100s of people primatologist Biruté Mary Galdikas, has inspired through her four decades of research on orangutans. 

Gaither and Nordham studied primatology in Borneo under the guidance of the scientist, conservationist and educator more than 20 years apart.

“It was my work in Borneo that inspired me to become an anthropologist,” Gaither says. “When the Nordham family approached me about bringing Dr. Galdikas to Denver it was like everything had come full circle.”

Metro State and the Nordhams have partnered to bring Galdikas to Denver, April 21-23 by securing sponsors for her visit to advance the educational message of Orangutan Foundation International (OFI).

Galdikas will talk about her work on Thursday, April 21 at 5:30 p.m. in St. Cajetan’s center on the Auraria Campus. Registration for this free, public event is required as seating is limited: http://bit.ly/dLl9m9. In addition to her visit on campus, Galdikas will be making appearances at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Galdikas’ work is also featured in an IMAX 3D documentary film “Born to Be Wild” narrated by Morgan Freeman to be released in theatres April 8. http://www.imax.com/borntobewild/.

Kristin Nordham fell in love with orangutans in fourth grade, when she wrote her endangered-animal research paper on the great apes. She has been involved with OFI since she was 10 years old and traveled to Camp Leakey in Borneo to observe and film wild orangutans in 2009 alongside the IMAX film crew. She raised the funds herself to finance her trip to visit an orangutan named Irvine that she had adopted.

Gaither traveled to Borneo in 1990 for a one-month “vacation.” She had been thinking about going back to school, but didn’t know what she really wanted to do. The experience she had in Borneo changed her life. “Working with the animals and the people of Borneo was such an incredible experience that I knew anthropology was the field for me,” says Gaither, who went on to earn a doctoral degree in anthropology. “Dr. Galdikas was a huge part of that. She is so passionate about what she does and that is very inspiring.”

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Orangutan Foundation International 

The mission of OFI is to support the conservation, protection and understanding of orangutans and their rain forest habitat while caring for ex-captive orangutan orphans as they make their way back to the forest. Visit us at http://www.orangutan.org/

About Metropolitan State College of Denver
With more than 24,000 students, Metro State is Colorado’s leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans. The College now offers master’s degrees in accounting and teacher education, and will offer a master’s in social work starting fall 2011. The College enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts 70,000 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.