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Oral Histories

The following are oral histories collected from persons who knew B. W. Wells. They contain reflections on the impact of his work for North Carolina and the field of ecology in general.


Art Cooper
Arthur ("Art") W. Cooper received bachelor and master of arts degrees in 1953 and 1955 from Colgate University in New York and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1958, whereupon he came to teach at North Carolina State and first met Wells (which event he vividly describes in the interview). Cooper served the North Carolina Department of Natural and Economic Resources as assistant secretary from 1971 to 1976. He is a former president of the Ecological Society of America, chair of the Appalachian Society of American Foresters, president of the North Carolina Academy of Sciences, chair of the USDA Committee of Scientists, and chair of Governor James B. Hunt's Task Force on Sustainable Forestry in North Carolina. In 1980 he was appointed head of the Department of Forestry at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh, N.C.

Listen to Art Cooper's interview. (55 Mb mp3 file)


Benson Kirkman
Benson Kirkman earned a doctorate from North Carolina State University in plant ecology and horticulture, during which time he made the acquaintance of a retired Wells. A former Raleigh City Councilman, Kirkman runs an environmental/biological consulting practice in Raleigh. He puts his expertise to practical use as the owner and/or manager of conservation forest land in critical watershed locations.

Listen to Benson Kirkman's interview. (45 Mb mp3 file)

Thomas Quay
In 1948, Thomas Quay was one of three students who received the first Ph.D. degrees awarded by N.C. State University. He spent the next 32 years in the College's zoology department, where he shared his love for wildlife with students. In 1994 he was inducted into the N.C. Wildlife Federation's Hall of Fame. Wells served as a reader on Quay's dissertation committee, and maintained a close friendship with Wells from that time forward.

Listen to Thomas Quay's interview. (49 Mb mp3 file)

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