Over the past 42 years, Professor Don Melnick has worked with an international group of scientists and students to address questions of basic science, applied science, and environmental policy. In basic and applied science, he has used molecular genetics to investigate aspects of ecology, behavior, evolution, and conservation of vertebrates; spanning organisms from frogs to elephants, and continents from Central and South America to Asia and Africa. In environmental policy, Professor Melnick has co-chaired the UN Millennium Task Force on Environmental Sustainability, and presented a vision for environmentally sustainable economic growth to the UN, World Bank, Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Alliance, and the Congress of the Dominican Republic. Most recently, with a team of over 60 experts from 7 countries, he has developed The Rainforest Standard (RFS), which provides an innovative science-based financial mechanism to simultaneously protect forests, reduce carbon emissions, conserve biodiversity, and improve the socioeconomic conditions of rural forest communities. The RFS is now being piloted in Asia and Latin America.