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Robert H. Giles, Jr. was born on May 25, 1933 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He attended E.C. Glass High School. He won a Bausch and Lomb Science award in high school for studies of the ring-necked pheasant. As an Eagle Scout, he won the W.T. Hornaday National Award for Distinguished Service to Conservation, and in national competition, the James E. West Scouting Conservation Scholarship for a conservation essay and activities.
From September, 1951 to June, 1955 he attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He was enrolled in the Forestry and Wildlife Conservation curriculum, elected the forestry option, and graduated with a B.S. in Biology; Major, Forestry. During this time he was an editor for several magazines and the president of the V.P.I. Corps of Cadets of 6000 students. He was also a member of seven national honoraries.
From June, 1955 to June, 1957 he obtained a Master of Science Degree; Major, Wildlife Management, with Dr. J. S. Lindzey, Unit Leader. His work on the conservation knowledge of Virginia School pupils was supported by the Wildlife Management Institute. Following formal courses in zoology, botony, and ecology, he took supplementary work in educational measurement. He administered 15,000 tests on conservation based to a sample of the total state school population in grades 7-12.
He attended Ohio State University in 1961. He was awarded a PhD for work on the effects of malathion insecticide labeled with the S-35 isotope on forests in the Miskingum Watershed Conservancy District in Ohio. His work was supported by the US Atomic Energy Commission.
He went to teach and do research in the College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Range Science at the University of Idaho in 1964. There he taught big game management, a wildlife techniques course, and graduate seminars. He left Idaho in 1967 and joined the faculty of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at Virginia Tech.
With TVA support he created the woodland resource management system of TVA, once used on 300 farms a year. With staff and students, he created the first wildlife information base (BOVA). As chairman of a local planning commission, consultant to the National Wildlife Refuge System, aid to the State Cooperation Commission, consultant for Wintergreen and several realtors, and as a landowner himself, he has developed a unique and alternative perspective on land and its management. He wrote the first plan for wildlife other-than-game for Virginia. Thirty years ago he was attracted back to Virginia Tech and he has worked there until his retirement in 1998.
Dr. Giles began working on the Rural System concept in the early 1980s, but did not begin in earnest until his retirement. He envisioned an enterprise, a large, diverse conglomerate of for-profit, private businesses mostly related to rural areas. The completed system would have four main parts:
- VNodal: the prescriptive software system
- Groups: businesses and enterprises
- Enterprise Environments: lands under management
- Land Force: a well-equipped team of experts and skilled workers
The system’s objectives?
- To conserve and enhance natural resources
- To create rural communities
- To preserve rural beauty
- To apply knowledge
- To provide jobs
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The full CV of Robert H. Giles can be found at http://ruralsystemguide.com/