Henry Fairfield Osborn was an American naturalist, notable for his involvement in and contribution to many environmental organizations.
Osborn was born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1887. He attended both Princeton and Cambridge Universities, after which he worked in a variety of jobs, including as a soldier in World War I.
Having followed his paleontologist father on archeological digs, however, Osborn became interested in science as a career. He soon became secretary of the New York Zoological Society and went on to serve for many years as its president. He also worked
to support the creation of the Marine Aquarium at Coney Island, New Jersey, and the upkeep of the Bronx Zoological Park. Concerned for endangered species, in 1947 Osborn also founded the Conservation Foundation, an adjunct to the New York Zoological Society and later part of the World Wildlife Fund.
Osborn took his environmentalism to Washington, D.C. He served on the
Conservation Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of the Interior and on the Planning Committee of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Osborn was also concerned about the effect of population growth on the supply of natural resources, and he worked for solutions to this problem. He wrote two books, Our Plundered Planet (1948), and The Limits of the Earth (1953). He was a member of many other environmental organizations
including the Save-the-Redwoods League and the International Council for Bird Preservation. Henry Osborn died in 1968.