Caesar Kleberg was one of the great conservationists of his time. Born in Cuero, Texas, in 1873, he witnessed the impact of wildlife being decimated by unregulated hunting while working on his uncle’s ranch at the age of 27. As a result, Caesar set rules for hunting on the ranch as early as 1912. He then served for 20 years on the Game, Fish, and Oyster Commission (the precursor to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department), and through that organization effectively stopped all hunting of wild turkeys in the state to promote their conservation. Subsequently, he enlisted the help and support of private landowners to work at restoration efforts for deer, turkey and quail.

Before his death in 1946, he drafted his will to create the Caesar Kleberg Foundation for Wildlife Conservation. Over the past 60 years, his Foundation has given in excess of $40 million to wildlife research projects and has has created endowed positions at six universities. In 1981, the Foundation created the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, and in 2007 the organization made a substantial gift to The Wildlife Society to endow this award.

The Caesar Kleberg Award recognizes those who have distinguished themselves in applied wildlife research and is focused on those whose body of work, in both inquiry and discovery, has resulted in application of management and conservation “on the ground.” The award is not intended to honor the outstanding career accomplishments of research administrators or practitioners of wildlife management or conservation, for whom the Leopold Award is a better fit. In addition to the award plaque and commemorative medal, the recipient receives a complimentary TWS annual conference registration, travel expenses, and a $2,000.00 check. A nominee’s eligibility for the Kleberg Award will not be affected by other awards received from The Wildlife Society (e.g., Leopold Award, Honorary Member, and TWS Fellow). 


  • The nominee must have been a member of The Wildlife Society for much of their career.
  • The nominee must have a sustained record of productivity in applied wildlife research. This award is intended to honor an individual’s record of applied research over a substantial period of time, rather than accomplishments involving a single research endeavor. The research must have had direct context and value for managing or conserving wildlife resources, with a focus on vertebrate species excluding fish. Any intellectual endeavors that result in acquired knowledge about wildlife and physical, biological, or social processes that affect wildlife are eligible for this award.
  • The nominee’s research responds to or has potential application to high-priority needs in wildlife management and conservation.
  • Applications from nominee’s research are realizing significant improvements in wildlife management or conservation, on-the-ground management practices, or wildlife policies, either by the researcher, wildlife managers, policy-makers, or other applied scientists or practitioners.
  • The nominee has a national or international reputation for excellence in applied wildlife research.

Heads of research organizations may be eligible for the award if they were intellectually involved in the research; i.e., contributed to the experimental design, analysis, and/or application of said research.


Nomination letters should include:

  • A nomination narrative that clearly outlines the nominee’s contributions to applied wildlife research, completely covering each of the five selection criteria listed above. The nomination statement must provide an explicit link between the nominee’s career and a cumulative track record relative to wildlife research findings, recognized success, and application of results that have high importance in the field of conservation and/or wildlife management. While a list of publications is useful, that alone will be insufficient.
  • Nominee’s curriculum vitae/resume
  • Names and contact information for at least five references

Nomination materials must be submitted via the online nominations system by May 1 at 11:59 PM ET.

Nominations of unsuccessful candidates remain in the candidate pool for a maximum of three years, unless the individual is re-nominated.

For questions related to TWS Awards please email,


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