Jan Čeřovský

* 1930  †︎ 2017

  • “The secret police contacted me a number of times and asked me about various things and people. I made a resolution not to say anything bad about anybody they would ask me about, and to formulate all my answers in a merely technical way. They pretended to be interested in the technical stuff. I tried – even if they did not like it – to only speak with them on technical topics. I was summoned several times. One of these instances was interesting: they interrogated me for four hours in Bartolomějská street, asking me about whom was I meeting, who were these people. I stuck to my decision to not say anything bad about anybody and to stick to the technical topics. They have never offered me direct collaboration, though.”

  • “Already at the time when I participated in international youth camps did I start opening my eyes. I began realizing that things were not such as we were told at home, back in school. That the world was very different, much more diverse, and much freer. This had of course manifested itself. In the 1970s it led to me finding out about the wrong course of my communist faith. I turned to a different faith, after that, one that relies on and pursues love instead of hatred. I think that the basis of the communist faith lies in hatred, that the basis is the class struggle – what else is that than hatred? I believed in certain idea which relied on some attempts of the communist ideology to create a better world. But I was disappointed in it."

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    Praha - Zbraslav, 18.11.2014

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The Czech ambassador was offered deer and I was allowed to travel abroad.

4862-portrait_former.jpg (historic)
Jan Čeřovský
photo: archiv Jana Čeřovského

Jan Čeřovský, PhD. was born in Prague on 2 February 1930. He used to be a boy-scout with Prague’s group Trilobit and had a special interest in fossils. Thanks to his mother, who was fond of rocks and plants, he began to develop an interest in biology as he grew older. In high school, he met the botanist Jaroslav Vesely, with whom he then collaborated for all of his life. As a seventeen year old, he became a member of the Czechoslovak Botantic Society. Between 1950 and 1953 he worked as a distance editor-in-chief of Člověk a příroda (“Human and the Nature”) magazine. From 1949 to 1953 he attended the Faculty of Biology, Charles University in Prague, followed by post-gradual studies specializing in geobotanics and nature conservation. In 1956 he became a founding editor-in-chief of the magazine of young technicians and biologists ABC. In 1961 he was awarded a PhD. degree, becoming Doctor of Natural Sciences in 1967. Ever since 1959 Jan Čeřovský worked in State Institute for Historic Preservation and Nature Conservation in Prague, in a department specializing in nature conservation, where he had stayed until his retirement in 2002. He initiated and coordinated a system of educational trails, published a five-volume set of Czechoslovak “red books” on endangered species. He also pushed through the inclusion of the word “wetlands” into Czech vocabulary. On the 9th general assembly of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an associated agency to UNESCO he was appointed vice-president of IUCN permanent Commission on Education, pursuing the inclusion of environmental education into curricula at all levels of education. Between 1969 and 1973 he served as head of the unit for education at the Central Secretariat of IUCN in Morges, Switzerland. From 1982 to 1988 he was secretary of the Eastern European Committee of IUCN for education. In 1990 - 1994 he served as vice-president of IUCN. Between 1991 and 1996 he was a member of Czech national committee for UNESCO program Man and Biosphere. Jan Čeřovský passed away on September, the 9th, 2017.