TWS members receive 2016 Honorary Membership Award

By Julia John

Smokey Mountains, North Carolina. ©Tyler Merbler

The Honorary Membership was first awarded to J.N. (Ding) Darling in 1950. It recognizes continuous outstanding service to any area of concern to The Wildlife Society by a TWS member who is a practicing or retired wildlife professional. Nomination forms must be submitted by May 1, 2007. Click here to nominate an individual for consideration or learn about the criteria and nomination process.

The Wildlife Society awarded two members with Honorary Memberships at the Annual Conference in Raleigh, N.C., last fall. The awards recognized Terry Blankenship and Terry Kreeger for their unwavering excellent service as wildlife professionals.

Terry Blankenship accepts an Honorary Membership Award from former TWS president Gary Potts at the 23rd Annual Conference in Raleigh. N.C., last fall.

Blankenship has served as director at the Welder Wildlife Foundation since 2009 and was a biologist with the organization for two decades before that. In 2000, he earned a doctoral degree in wildlife science at Texas A&M-College Station and Texas A&M-Kingsville. His research focuses on predator-prey relations and bobcat ecology in Texas.

“As director of the Welder Wildlife Foundation, Terry has been instrumental in the education, training and mentoring of countless graduate students,” wrote Linda Campbell, a past president of the Texas Chapter, in a recommendation letter. “His example of accomplishment and commitment to the next generation of wildlife professionals is admirable.”

Blankenship has been a TWS member for four decades, has served on multiple committees and was president of the Texas Chapter from 2003 to 2004. His father, Lytle Blankenship, a past president of TWS, nurtured his interest in wildlife as a child.

”It seemed apparent that my son was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps from the time I saw him sitting on top of a downed elephant on Mkomazi Game Refuge, Tanzania,” Lytle Blankenship wrote in his nomination letter.

Terry Kreeger accepts an Honorary Membership Award from former TWS President Gary Potts at the 23rd Annual Conference in Raleigh, N.C., last fall.

Specializing in wildlife medicine and immobilization, Kreeger is a retired veterinarian with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He obtained his doctoral degree in wildlife management from the University of Minnesota for research into animals’ physiological responses to trapping, which set today’s standards for best management practices. The author of over 100 publications, he published The Handbook of Wildlife Chemical Immobilization in 1996, which is now going into its fifth edition and used by wildlife practitioners worldwide. He started his career in journalism but became a pioneer in wildlife medicine.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked getting this award,” said Kreeger, who joined TWS as a master’s student over three decades ago. “I had no idea I was even being considered for it. When you look at the list of previous honorary members, it’s a humbling experience. You wonder if you deserve to be included with these people, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give the award back.”

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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