2011 Award Winners

TWS was proud to honor many distinguished members during the annual conference. Our congratulations to this year’s award winners.

Aldo Leopold Memorial Award

Kenneth Burnham receives the Aldo Leopold awardFollowing Aldo Leopold’s death in April 1948, The Wildlife Society established an award medal in his memory to recognize individuals who have demonstrated “distinguished services of undoubted significance to the cause of wildlife conservation.” It is our highest honor. We are honored to recognize Dr. Kenneth P. Burnham as the 2011 Aldo Leopold Memorial Award winner.

Dr. Burnham began his career as a statistician for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and later as an area statistician for the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in the southeast United States. During the mid-1970s through the late 1980s, Dr. Burnham’s research centered on developing open capture-recapture models, new statistical approaches for estimating population size under the closure assumption, and line and point transect sampling and analytical techniques. Dr. Burnham’s early research produced a wide variety of statistical methods used by ecologists around the world. These methods had a profound impact on the science behind numerous monitoring programs, including the northern spotted owl, endangered desert tortoise, endangered fish on the Colorado River, salmon passage through hydro-dams on the Columbia River, and assistance in planning and conducting the 2000 U.S. Census, just to name a few. 

Starting in 1988, and for the next 21 years, Dr. Burnham held the position of Assistant Unit Leader for the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Colorado State University. Dr. Burnham’s most recent and perhaps most significant work on the development of “information-theoretic” approaches has become an emerging new paradigm for developing rigorous inferences in biological sciences. The culmination of Dr. Burnham’s work has been the development of “multimodel inference,” a theoretical approach for quantifying evidence for alternative hypotheses in an a priori set of candidate models.  This approach has led to effective insights into a broad range of biological systems in many places throughout the world. 

In 2004, Dr. Burnham was promoted to a Senior Scientist within the Federal government, one of only 4 such positions in the Biological Resources Discipline of the U.S. Geological Survey. Dr. Burnham carried this title, which reflects his impacts in the wildlife and fisheries sciences, until his retirement in 2009.

Over his 40-year career, Dr. Burnham has published nearly 200 publications. His scientific contributions have been cited more than 17,000 times by wildlife professionals around the world. Dr. Burnham’s level of impact is indeed staggering and almost certainly unmatched by anyone in the biological sciences. Dr. Burnham’s scientific contributions have had an enormous impact on a wide range of management and research programs in numerous countries across the globe. 

Dr. Burnham mentored dozens of graduate students, and taught numerous courses over his academic career. Of his self-proclaimed research interests in 1) experimental study design, 2) statistical inference in ecological, wildlife and fisheries studies, 3) theory and application of capture-recapture studies, 4) parameter estimation from bird banding studies, 5) closed-model capture-recapture theory, 6) open-model capture-recapture theory, 7) use of AIC in capture-recapture studies, 8) population sampling based on finite population sampling theory, and 9) theory and application of information-theoretic model selection, Dr. Burnham would easily be recognized as an international expert in each of these diverse subjects. 

Dr. Burnham has traveled across the world to teach workshops and seminars and has received many significant awards in recognition for his scientific accomplishments and contributions to our broad field, including The Wildlife Society’s 1981, 1984, and 2001 Publication of the Year Awards for monographs, Distinguished Statistical Ecologist by the International Congress of Ecology, 20th Century Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Statistics, designation as a Fellow in the American Statistical Association, 2006 Doug Gilbert Award for Outstanding Achievements in Wildlife Science, and the Designated Landmark Paper award by Wildlife Research. 

In the words of long-time friend and colleague, Dr. David Anderson, “Ken is the only person I have known that is consistently working at the genius level.  His impacts on our profession are off the charts.”

We agree. Congratulations Dr. Burnham! 

Student Chapter of the Year Award
The 2011 Student Chapter of the Year Award goes to the Missouri Western State University Student Chapter.  Established in 2002, this chapter had a stellar year in 2011. The chapter currently has 47 members, and all are members of  the parent Society.  During the year, members assisted the Missouri Department of Conservation with deer check stations, dove wing collections, the Missouri Hunter Education program, deer spotlight surveys, banding geese, deer aging stations, bobwhite call count surveys, the agency’s Insectorama, youth pheasant hunts, manning numerous information booths at conservation events, and antler scoring workshops. The Chapter also is very active with the USFWS including  butterfly tagging, wood duck box construction and maintenance, and invasive species removal at a nearby NWR.  Student members partnered with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to host the 40-hour S130 and S190 training course.  Using GPS and GIS skills, chapter members worked with their campus Environmental Safety Officer to locate, GPS, and map potential hazardous waste dumpsites on campus.  The Chapter maintains a listserve to allow professionals, other students in The Wildlife Society, and current professors to communicate. In 2010, the Chapter earned the following awards: Student Chapter of the Year for by North Central Section of TWS, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Organization of the Year, and the Missouri Department of Conservation Division of Private Lands Services Partnership of the Year Award. 

Student Chapter Advisor of the Year Award
This year's winner for Student Chapter Advisor of the Year is Dr. Jacqueline Frair, advisor of the State University of New York, Syracuse Student Chapter. Jacqui is an active advisor and strong promoter of student involvement in The Wildlife Society.  She has organized professional development activities that include a speaker series with wildlife professionals, resume and certification workshops, and outreach to both non-wildlife majors and the general public. The enthusiastic and eloquent nomination from Jacqui's students speaks volumes about her dedication and hard work on their behalf.

Donald H. Rusch Memorial Game Bird Research Scholarship
This year’s Rusch Award goes to Erik Blomberg. A Ph.D student with excellent academic credentials, Erik is working with Jim Sedinger at the University of Nevada-Reno on the population ecology of greater sage-grouse in the Great Basin. Erik is an avid bird hunter and his research epitomizes the sort of work that would have resonated well with the award's namesake, Professor Rusch. 

The Diversity Award
The winner of this year’s Diversity Award is the Native American Professional Development Program of the Native People’s Wildlife Management Working Group of TWS.

This relatively new program was initiated with a small grant in 2006. Already its impacts on young professionals are significant. This program has brought 31 indigenous students, each majoring in wildlife and/or natural resources management, to the Annual Conference of The Wildlife Society. Selected students participate in professional development programs, meetings with TWS officers, paper sessions, and more. Additionally, each student is given a 1-year membership to TWS and the Native People’s Wildlife Management Working Group, benefiting from their publications and interactions with professionals in various disciplines. Many  participants have become very involved with TWS; for example, the engaging plenary speech delivered by Ms. Seafha Blount at last year's annual conference in Utah. The innovative initiatives of this program are exceptional examples of how to enhance diversity in the wildlife profession through recruitment and retention. 

The Jim McDonough Award
The winner of The Wildlife Society’s 2011 Jim McDonough Award is Bob Lanka. In addition to his distinguished career with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Bob has been a selfless contributor to TWS. His service includes President of the Wyoming Chapter, active liaison to the University of Wyoming Student Chapter, and President of the Central Mountains & Plains Section. In the early 1990s, when game ranching was challenging the concept of public ownership of wildlife in many western states, Bob Lanka stood tall in opposing this threat. He played an integral role in developing state policy that preserved public ownership of wildlife in Wyoming. Bob had a major hand in improving ungulate inventories and harvest surveys, cougar management plans, and public education programs that continue to be important tools of Wyoming Game and Fish Department. In his current position he is responsible for endangered and threatened species statewide, which places him in the cross-hairs of energy development, social controversy, and wildlife conservation. Bob Lanka is the professionals' professional, working tirelessly and selflessly for the conservation of wildlife in North America. 

Conservation Education Award

Article Category
Nevada Department of Wildlife. 2007-2010. Southern Nevada Wild. Vol. (issue)1(1) – 4(4) Southern Nevada Wild is a teacher/student newsletter published by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. This quarterly newsletter, written by Wildlife Conservation Coordinator Margie Klein,  rovides teachers with resources to help connect students with their world. The newsletter provides information on various wildlife species or wildlife issues that teachers can present to students along with links to other wildlife education programs and activities.

Book Category
Council for Environmental Education’s Flying WILD: An Educator’s Guide to Celebrating Birds. This instructional guide teaches middle-school students about birds, bird migration, and bird conservation through standards-based classroom activities and environmental stewardship projects. It also details how teachers can work closely with conservation organizations, community groups, and businesses involved with birds, to implement school bird festivals and bird conservation projects.

Wildlife Publications Awards

Thomas H. Kunz and Stuart Parsons for Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD 2009.

Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich for Turtles of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C.  2010.

Hawthorne L. Beyer, Daniel T. Haydon, Juan M. Morales, Jacqueline L. Frair, Mark Hebblewhite, Michael Mitchell, and Jason Matthiopoulos for The interpretation of habitat preference metrics under use-availability designs.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 365:2245-2254.

Jonathan B. Cohen, Lawrence M. Houghton, James D. Fraser for "Nesting density and reproductive success of piping plovers in response to storm- and human-created habitat changes.” The Wildlife Society Monographs, No. 173, August 2009.

Group Achievement Award
This year’s Group Achievement Award is presented to Friends of the Maga Ta-Hohpi Waterfowl Production Area.

The Friends of Maga Ta-Hohpi consists of 8 active volunteers who work in cooperation with the Huron Wetland Management District of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Their mission is “to promote, develop and support environmental education and the awareness of the values of preserving and enhancing our natural resources.” At a time when fewer kids are getting outdoors, this group  strives to support appreciation and understanding of nature and the outdoors through free, environmental education experiences for all ages.

Excellence in Wildlife Education Award
This is a new award that celebrates exemplary teaching and will contribute to the improvement of wildlife education by honoring individual faculty members engaged in undergraduate and/or graduate wildlife-related education. We are proud to bestow the first Excellence in Wildlife Education Award upon Henry “Rique” Campa.

Caesar Kleberg Award for Excellence in Applied Wildlife Research
The Caesar Kleberg Award for Excellence in Applied Wildlife Research goes to Karl Miller. Karl has been an active member of The Wildlife Society throughout his professional career of 30+ years and has served the organization in various capacities.  His long-standing and productive involvement in wildlife research and its application to management and conservation qualify Dr. Miller as a worthy recipient for the Caesar Kleberg Award for Excellence in Applied Wildlife Research.”

TWS Fellows
Robert Anthony
William M. Block
Henry (Rique) Campa III
David J. Case
W. Daniel Edge
Selma N. Glasscock
Bruce Leopold
Michael R. McEnroe

Special Recognition Service Award
The TWS 2011 Special Recognition Service Award goes to Larry Schwitters, Co-Coordinator for the Vaux’s Happenings Project, for his outstanding and extensive contributions to the protection and sustainability of Vaux’s swifts throughout their entire range. His efforts include coordinating birders, artists, citizen advocates, and scientists to locate critical roosting sites; promoting viewing events, and informing the public through the media about the life history and plight of this species. 

Honorary Membership Awards
Dr. Theodore (Ted) A. Bookhout has been selected to receive an Honorary Membership Award. Dr. Bookhout’s contributions to the wildlife profession are both exemplary and legendary. His credibility and service to the profession as a respected administrative leader, scientist, wildlife professional, and mentor over the past 50 years are widely known and deeply appreciated.  Ted has served the profession as an internationally recognized research scientist publishing hundreds of peer-reviewed publications, and as a mentor for many graduate students who have entered and become leaders in our profession. He has served The Wildlife Society with distinction on TWS Council, as Vice-President, and President of the Society, as Editor of The Journal of Wildlife Management, and Editor for the TWS Wildlife Techniques Manual, as well as serving in several leadership positions for the Ohio Chapter of TWS.  For these and many other outstanding contributions to the wildlife profession, and to the conservation of wild things and wild places, The Wildlife Society is honored and pleased to present the TWS 2011 Honorary Membership to Dr. Ted Bookhout.