Peter Pritchard, a leading environmental conservationist and director of the Chelonian Research Institute, will speak Thursday, Jan. 14, at the University of Central Florida.

Pritchard will give a presentation entitled “Lonesome George and the Battle for Galapagos” at 3 p.m. in the Cape Florida Ballroom of the Student Union. His program will include a screening of the BBC documentary, “Lonesome George and the Battle for Galapagos,” which features him, and a discussion about global environmental challenges. The event is free and open to the public.

Lonesome George is the last remaining Pinta Island giant tortoise. When he dies, his species will be extinct. He is an icon of his native Galapagos Islands and a symbol of the battle to preserve wildlife threatened by illegal fishing, the demands of a booming population and an ever-expanding tourism industry.

Pritchard, one of the world’s foremost turtle and tortoise experts and a Time magazine-designated “Hero of the Planet,” is best known for his work in the Galapagos and Guyana. Guyana’s beaches serve as nesting grounds for four of the world’s seven known sea turtle species. Those turtles were being overhunted by residents until Pritchard helped to save the creatures by recruiting hunters to become their protectors.

Pritchard’s presentation is a co-curricular component of the UCF General Education Program Unifying Theme, “The Environment and Global Climate Change,” and a part of the 2009-2010 universitywide theme of “The Environment, Energy and National/Global Security.”

Sponsors include the UCF Global Perspectives Office, UCF Office of Undergraduate Studies, Lawrence J. Chastang and the Chastang Foundation, UCF Political Science Department, UCF LIFE, UCF Focus the Nation and the Global Connections Foundation.