Greetings from Papua New Guinea

Palm-oil company owner asks Pres. Zingg to continue Chico State expeditions

Chico State President Paul Zingg was sent a letter in November by Graham King, owner of a Papua New Guinea palm-oil company, asking the university to reconsider its separation from ongoing environmental expeditions to measure and preserve the “last of the pristine wildernesses on the island of New Britain.”

For a number of years, the school worked with adjunct professor John Lane who, with biology professors Don Miller and Randy Senock, led students on the weeks-long expeditions into the PNG jungles. That relationship soured in the summer of 2011 when the school’s risk-management office determined the trips were too dangerous for the school to be involved.

King said in the letter that local landowners had asked him if the biodiversity studies would continue. “They do not want the last of their remaining natural-resource area to be ruined,” he wrote.

Zingg said he could not comment because it was a personnel matter.