Colby Slezak, a master’s student at the University of Rhode Island, received the 2020 Donald H. Rusch Memorial Game Bird Scholarship.
Studying under TWS member Scott McWilliams, Slezak is studying nesting phenology and spatial ecology of the American woodcock (Scolopax minor) using radiotelemetry and novel applications of spatial statistics. His research is providing valuable information for management of woodcock and will be one of the first to obtain information on females’ resource use.
Slezak received his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Cobleskill and has worked as a field technician on shorebirds, fishers, bighorn sheep and moose, taking him across the United States, from Maine to Idaho.
An Associate Wildlife Biologist®, Slezak was an elected officer of his student chapter for three years and served as the undergraduate student representative for the Northeast Section of TWS. He has obtained several grants, scholarships and awards to fund his research and education.
The Donald H. Rusch Memorial Game Bird Scholarship was established to honor Don Rusch, who died unexpectedly in 1999, and to continue his legacy by contributing to studies of game bird biology. The award is presented annually to a graduate student studying any aspect of upland game bird or waterfowl biology and management. This award was originally intended to expire last year, but the scholarship was extended and maintained thanks to Chuck Meslow.
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