Northern bobwhite researcher wins Rusch Memorial scholarship

Victoria L. Simonson was awarded the Donald H. Rusch Memorial Game Bird Research Scholarship award at last year’s annual conference in Raleigh, N.C., for her work on northern bobwhite quail.

Nominations for the 2017 Donald H. Rusch Memorial Game Bird Research Scholarship will be accepted through May 1. The annual scholarship is open to any graduate student studying upland birds or waterfowl biology or management. Click on the link above to visit the Rusch Memorial Scholarship webpage, or visit our awards page to learn more about all TWS awards.

Victoria L. Simonson was awarded the 2016 Donald H. Rusch Memorial Game Bird Research Scholarship for her work on northern bobwhite quail in the Master of Science in Applied Ecology program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“I cultivated my passion for natural systems during my childhood while exploring pastures and pheasant hunting with my family every fall,” Simonson wrote in her application for the scholarship. “I watched as pastures and small grain crops disappeared to make way for more and more cornfields. As the people and land around me changed, I noticed corresponding changes in how birds and mammals used the landscape, especially as the number of pheasants harvested by my family each fall dwindled. My early experiences ultimately opened my eyes to anthropogenic impacts on wildlife ecology.”

The award was created in 2000 in honor of Don Rusch, who died unexpectedly the previous year. An avid hunter and angler, Rusch had a keen interest in game bird biology and conservation. His research as a wildlife professional contributed greatly to the understanding of ruffed grouse and Canada goose population ecology. The award recognizes scholars who carry on his legacy as an enthusiastic and encouraging teacher, a passionate scientist and researcher and an open-minded yet emphatic manager.

Simonson said she intends to pursue a career that promotes collaboration between the scientific community and landowners to further conservation efforts.