Roger Tory Peterson (August 28, 1908-July 28, 1996), a naturalist, ornithologist, artist, and educator, is held to be one of the founding inspirations for the 20th century environmental movement. He was born in Jamestown, New York. In 1934 he published his seminal Guide to the Birds, the first modern field guide. The Guide to the Birds went through 5 editions. He edited or wrote many of the volumes in the Peterson Field Guide series on topics ranging from rocks and minerals to beetles to reptiles. He is known for the clear illustrations of his field guides and the clear delineation of relevant field marks. He also developed the "Peterson Identification System."

Peterson received every major American award for natural science, ornithology, and conservation, as well as numerous honorary medals, diplomas, and citations, including the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"In this century, no one has done more to promote an interest in living creatures than Roger Tory Peterson, the inventor of the modern field guide." - Paul Ehrlich, ecologist.

Roger Tory Peterson died in 1996 at his home in Old Lyme, Connecticut.