Native purple flowers grow among a burned stand of trees

Visit to Taylor Rings Bell for Wilderness Studies Support

While rising through the ranks of electrical engineering and product development at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Jim Morris heeded the call of other passions – environmental protection, land use and backpacking. Though he was busy publishing technical papers, developing a patent and representing his company at several American National Standards Institute groups, Morris found time to participate in many field trips to evaluate stream recovery from forest fires in Yellowstone National Park with a team from Idaho State University (ISU).

After he retired from AT&T and Lucent Technologies, Morris’ expeditions with ISU expanded into Idaho’s River of No Return Wilderness and Taylor Wilderness Research Station. During these trips, including 13 visits to Taylor, Morris, who lives in Pennsylvania, developed a greater appreciation of this wilderness and the need to conduct ecosystem studies to both to increase our understanding of how natural systems function and educate future ecological guardians.

“During my visits to Taylor, I saw firsthand the quality of the research and the dedication of the students investigating the diversity of topics that were, and need to be, studied in this area,” he said.

He also noted that to be meaningful, these studies need to span long time periods, but most funding for such research is typically short-term. He collaborated with CNR administration to create the Taylor Ecosystem Research Endowment targeting long-term ecosystem studies based at Taylor. The endowment is a major part of Jim’s estate plan, but he hopes, with help from other donors, to significantly fund this endowment as soon as possible.

For more information on how to support this endowment, contact Steve Hacker, CNR director of Development, at (208) 885-7400 or email

Jim Morris, creator of the Taylor Ecosystem Research Endowment, hopes to generate support for long-term ecosystem studies based at Taylor Wilderness Research Station.