Dorney, Robert Starbird fonds

Dorney, Robert
Robert Starbird Dorney fonds. - 1948-1992.

2.6 m of textual records and other material.

View full finding aid of Robert Starbird Dorney fonds (PDF)

Robert (Bob) Starbird Dorney, 1928-1987, was an ecologist and a pioneer in the field of environmental management. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in Veterinary Science and Wildlife Management with an interest in diseases of wild animals. He worked first as a conservation biologist in Wisconsin with the State Conservation Department and at the University of Wisconsin, during which time he wrote on ruffed grouse, raccoons, squirrels, and rabbits. He then moved to Latin America and for three years was a science advisor on renewable natural resources to the countries involved in the Pan American Union.

In 1967, he was hired by the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, School of Urban and Regional Planning, as a professor in the area of applied ecology, environmental and resource management. For twenty years he educated students, politicians, developers, and the general public on the value of the science of ecology in improving the design and livability of urban environments, a private as well as a public commitment. As a founding member of the Waterloo Region's Ecological and Environmental Advisory Committee, he was a major force in identifying environmentally sensitive areas for inclusion in the Region's master plan, while at his home he developed a mini-ecosystem of natural vegetation which was studied by students and gardeners alike. He was also a founding partner of Ecoplans Ltd., an environmental planning consulting company, and author of The Professional Practice of Environmental Management published posthumously in 1989.


The fonds consists of textual and visual materials created and received by Dorney over the course of his career, including drafts and reprints of most of his published writings, teaching and course materials, audio-visual materials, framed items, ephemera and realia. Of interest is an original map by Dorney which attempts to reconstruct the original vegetation patterns in North Dumfries Township in Waterloo County in the 19th century. Dorney's collection of ca. 4,500 slides is particularly significant in its documentation of natural vegetation, urban impact and areas of ecological interest both locally and elsewhere and includes extensive documentation of the "mini-forest" at his home at 124 Amos Ave. in Waterloo.

Materials are arranged in series as follows:

  1. Biographical and Personal;
  2. Interests and Activities;
  3. Ecoplans Ltd. ;
  4. Education and Early Career;
  5. Teaching;
  6. Publications;
  7. Audio Visual;
  8. Photographs;
  9. Slides;
  10. Maps and Plans;
  11. Realia.

Includes 4,230 slides, 321 photographs and negatives, 3 videocassettes, 3 audio cassettes, 4 audio reels, 11 maps and plans, 5 badges, 3 plaques, 1 print, 1 copper plate


  • Title based on contents of the fonds.
  • Donated by Lindsay Dorney in Sept. 1994.
  • Arrangement loosely follows original typed finding aid with modifications.

Call number: GA 88