Aldo Leopold Award Recipients Gather at TWS Conference

By Dana Kobilinsky

James Nichols (third from the right) is joined by other TWS Award recipients at the 2015 Aldo Leopold Reception in Winnipeg.

Recipients of the Aldo Leopold Award — The Wildlife Society’s highest honor — got together at a commemorative reception that was part of the ongoing TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg. These distinguished wildlife professionals reminisced about receiving the award, reflected on their careers, and talked about the future. Below, Aldo Leopold Award winners who attended the reception share a few words about the conference and their achievements.

Gary White, 2000 Aldo Leopold Award Recipient

Gary White recalls that when he received the award, it came as a shock. White remembers someone reading the bio of the winner, and he couldn’t believe it was him. “I remember having heart palpitations,” he said.

Nova Silvy, 2003 Aldo Leopold Award Recipient

“I was humbled and honored [to receive the award],” said Nova Silvy. “I’m looking forward to seeing old friends.”

Silvy was also excited to see so many student members at this year’s conference. “As I used to tell my students in my class, it’s 75 percent what you know and 25 percent who you know,” he said. “I would reverse that; now, it’s 25 percent what you know and 75 percent who you know that’ll get you a job.”

Paul R. Krausman, 2006 Aldo Leopold Award Recipient

“Receiving the award was the greatest honor of my career,” said Paul Krausman. “It’s our responsibility to continue to lead.”

Krausman was also happy to see his students at the conference this year. “What’s special about this conference is I really like the idea of seeing these students grown up academically,” he said.

Douglas Johnson, 2010 Aldo Leopold Award Recipient

“It’s a great honor being an Aldo Leopold winner especially as a statistician and not a real biologist,” said Douglas Johnson. “I enjoy this meeting, and I come every year whether I’m speaking or not, because it’s a good chance to meet up with colleagues and friends and meet some of the young people in our field.”

Robert Warren, 2014 Aldo Leopold Award Recipient

“It was a total surprise to me when I won the award,” said Bob Warren. “I didn’t even know I was nominated, honestly. I never would have thought to be in that league with these gentlemen.”

Receiving the award is the greatest honor as a wildlife biologist, he added. “The magnitude of the award is just awe inspiring.”

Warren also believes having the conference in Canada is important and beneficial to The Wildlife Society. “It’s great that TWS is moving the venue around each year and incorporating Canadian provinces,” he said. “It’s really good we’re now having our meeting in Canada, and I hope we see it again here in a few years — we need to.”

James Nichols, 2015 Aldo Leopold Award Recipient

And, last but not least, 2015 Aldo Leopold Award Recipient, Jim Nichols felt overwhelmed but appreciative when he received the award this past Sunday. “The Society has contributed much more to me than I have contributed to it.”

Nichols looks forward to meeting new people and hearing diverse opinions. He is also excited to interact with students. “I worked in a research lab, not a university, so I really appreciate the opportunity to speak to young folks. It’s a big deal, and I think it’s terrific.”

Nichols will speak at next year’s TWS Annual Conference plenary in Raleigh, N.C.

Dana KobilinskyDana Kobilinsky is associate editor 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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