A Rich and Rewarding Journey: Pursuing the Health of the Land and Its People Through Increased Scientific Knowledge
A Rich and Rewarding Journey is a wonderful book that provides an inspired picture of the life and times of Ridgway L. Ridgway, beginning with the settlement on the Texas High Plains by his ancestors in the early 1900s and including a vivid description of the rugged setting (where earlier the buffalo roamed) that spawned the author. No doubt, those early times shaped his high level of commitment to excellence, his ability to focus on specific goals, and his determination to succeed. Ridgway's research accomplishments and his efforts to promote a broad understanding of agriculture as the most basic human endeavor and to increase scientific knowledge, while working primarily in Texas and Washington, DC area, are particularly noteworthy.
Following his formal education at Texas Tech University and Cornell University, he became a leading entomologist with a primary focus on managing cotton insects. His story provides an excellent picture of the biological control and pest management strategies. Included are actions over the past half century, with the battle against cotton insects that ultimately made a major contribution to the highly effective Boll Weevil Eradication Program.
A common theme throughout the book, and indeed, throughout Ridgway's life, is a strong commitment to the sustainability of food and fiber production systems throughout the world. Finally, he gives valuable insights into the legacy of Charles Valentine Riley. Riley's life and work were a major inspiration to him, and he worked tirelessly for the past thirty years to carry forward Riley's vision to benefit all of humankind. That vision is reflected in the quote by Riley in 1872, "None but the well informed are successful for success in agriculture today, implies knowledge - scientific knowledge." Ridgway, as the current President of the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation, was responsible for developing a collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the World Food Prize Foundation that has lifted efforts to build on Riley's legacy to new heights.
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