Conference highlights: ‘The View from my Bucket’

By The Wildlife Society

Last year’s Aldo Leopold Memorial Award recipient, Leigh Fredrickson, delivers the keynote address, sharing lessons learned from 50 years studying marshland birds. ©David Frey

Each day, wildlife.org will round up some of the highlights from the previous day at the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society 2019 Joint Conference. Scroll down for photos from the day’s events, and keep checking back to see what’s happening in Reno.

Growing up on the Missouri River floodplain, Leigh Fredrickson’s family “of modest means” was not afraid to be outdoors. “On a daily basis, many of us have an opportunity to enjoy the beauty that we have in this nation … and view the marvels on a regular basis,” said Fredrickson, the 2018 recipient of the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award and keynote speaker at the conference.

In his talk, “The View from My Bucket,” Fredrickson, a TWS member since 1959, shared his 50 years in wetland and waterbird research and what he learned along the way. “My journey is interesting because I started out like many of us did, because we enjoy the opportunity to look at plants and animals,” he said. “Part of this path is understanding if you are going to manage these you have to understand systems.”

An engineering student at Iowa State, Fredrickson changed courses after being shocked at seeing bulldozers knock over cypress trees in a film shown in an engineering class. He earned his master’s degree and doctorate, and his interest led him from marsh birds to their wider ecosystems. Pointing to the latest findings on bird losses in North America, Fredrickson noted that wetlands host some of the only birds whose numbers are increasing.

Fredrickson stresses that the profession needs all types of intelligence levels — it’s not just based on grade point average and test scores. “I’m more interested in finding out about your passion,” he said. “That’s the type of graduate student I want.”

The keynote address was sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This year’s Aldo Leopold Memorial Award recipient: Alan Wentz

This year’s Aldo Leopold Memorial Award was presented to Alan Wentz, who accepted the award via video. “I appreciate in all those jobs, all the bosses I had they tried to get me to do more work with The Wildlife Society and other like-minded conservation organizations,” he said. “I’m very honored and humbled to receive this award, and I’d like to thank anyone that had to do with my success.”

Biggest little Quiz Bowl winners

Reno calls itself “The Biggest Little City.” The big brown bat? It’s kind of little, too. Knowing its scientific name (Eptesicus fuscus) helped Purdue University defeat the University of Georgia Warnell School of Natural Resources to become the 2019 Quiz Bowl champions. West Virginia University rounded out the top three.

A day of recognition

A number of individuals and organizations were recognized on Tuesday:

American Public University, for its role as a Supporting Sponsor of TWS

Alberta Conservation Association and Texas Native Seeds, Group Achievement Award

Donald Luce, Jay N. “Ding” Darling Memorial Award for Wildlife Stewardship through Art

Alberta Chapter, Chapter of the Year

Michelle Haggerty, Conservation Education Award, book

Del Benson, Conservation Education Award, article or series

Larkin Powell, Excellence in Wildlife Education

Art Rodgers, Andrea Orabona, John Carroll, John Loegering, Carol Bocetti, Courtney Conway, Colleen Olfenbuttel, Lisa Muller, Kelley Stewart, Ken MacKenzie Jr., TWS Fellows

Carrie Hunt, Special Recognition Service Award

Harriet Allen, John Moriarty, Cynthia Perrine, outgoing council members

Colleen Hartel, outgoing student liaison

Gordon Batcheller, Kelley Stewart, Pat Lederle, Grant Hilderbrand, incoming council members

Laken Ganoe, incoming student liaison


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