TWS Member Receives National Park Service Award

By Dana Kobilinsky

National Park Service Director Johnathon Jarvis (left) and associate director for Natural Resource Stewardship Raymond Sauvajot (right) present wildlife biologist Steve Windels with a bronze bison sculpture in October for winning the National Park Service’s Director’s Award for Natural Resource Research.
Image Courtesy: Steve Windels

Steve Windels, a wildlife biologist at Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota and a member of The Wildlife Society, recently received the 2014 National Park Service’s Director’s Award for Natural Resource Research, an award that recognized his contributions to understanding, protecting and managing natural resources.

“I am proud to consider myself a public servant,” Windels said. “And I feel like my professional life is dedicated to trying to make a difference for conservation.”

Windels, who has supervised the wildlife management and research program at Voyageurs since 2003, was presented with a certificate and bronze bison sculpture in Washington, D.C. last month.

“It is always nice to be recognized by your peers for your accomplishments, but it is still humbling all the same,” he said. “It is really special to receive this award considering that the National Park Service has a lot of really talented, dedicated people all over the country who are doing great things to protect wildlife and natural resources within the system.” Windels continued, “The award also reflects the support I get from my family, my supervisors and the great people I get to work with in my job every day.”

As a wildlife biologist for NPS, Windels’ job is to keep wildlife healthy and handle issues that might threaten wildlife populations. Windels also conducts research on different species including beavers. He and lead author Carol Johnston recently published their study on the declining number of beaver colonies in Minnesota’s National Voyageurs Park in the The Journal of Wildlife Management.

The National Park Service, which celebrates its 100-year anniversary next year, employs leaders such as Windels to manage wildlife and resources using the best available science. “I love what I do and the people I get to work with in my job and profession,” Windels said. “I think that makes it easy to want to continue to work hard to address new challenges.”

Dana KobilinskyDana Kobilinsky is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at dkobilinsky@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article. You can follow her on Twitter at @DanaKobi.

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