Former JWM editor awarded for contributions

By Julia John

Evelyn Merrill accepts the 2016 Special Recognition Service Award from former TWS president Gary Potts at the 23rd Annual Conference in Raleigh.

Evelyn Merrill didn’t realize she wanted to be a wildlife professional until she took an ecology class during the senior year of her undergraduate career in government and art history. But her recent contributions to the wildlife field earned her The Wildlife Society’s 2016 Special Recognition Service Award.

A biology professor at the University of Alberta, Merrill received the honor, presented to a person or group for outstanding work in wildlife conservation, management or science, at the 23rd Annual Conference in Raleigh last fall. She believes the award recognizes her achievements from 2014 to 2015 as the first female editor-in-chief of The Journal of Wildlife Management in its 76-year history.

“I did editor’s messages I thought were valuable for the society and how we look at publication,” Merrill said. “I did background research to help them through the changing publication venue going on for the last 10 years — things like access and reviewer burnout.”

“The past editors, associate editors and staff of the publications, they are a dedicated team,” she said. “I’m proud of the emphasis the Society has put on its publications since 1937.”

Merrill said she has “grown alongside TWS,” which she joined while pursuing a master’s degree in wildlife ecology at the University of Idaho. She went on to become the faculty advisor of the University of Wyoming student chapter.

Merrill has been a member of the Wyoming, Wisconsin and Idaho chapters, and completed two terms as an associate editor for The Journal of Wildlife Management. She currently serves as the president of the Alberta Chapter and Canadian Section.

After working for the Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Fish and Game, Merrill enrolled in a PhD program in wildlife resources at the University of Washington.  She has remained in academia since and has taught at the University of Alberta for almost two decades.

“I’m humbled to be considered among all those other people who have gotten this in the past,” Merrill said.

Julia John is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at jjohn@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article.

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