Jim Hays receives Distinguished Service Award

By David Frey

Jim Hays has received TWS’ 2020 Distinguished Service Award. Credit: Courtesy Jim Hays

Jim Hays, recently retired as the conservation projects coordinator for The Nature Conservancy in Kansas, has received TWS’ 2020 Distinguished Service Award.

“His contributions toward fish and wildlife conservation in Kansas and regionally have left indelible, beneficial results,” wrote Ken Brunson in his nomination letter.

Hays was recognized for his efforts in guiding the development of renewable energy, protecting stream systems, conserving grasslands, providing outdoor recreation opportunities and other areas. His negotiations with energy companies was hailed for reducing impacts to sensitive wildlife as the state’s wind power industry expanded.

“Jim’s professionalism and commitment to conserving wild resources has been evident throughout his long career,” wrote Rob Manes, Kansas state director of The Nature Conservancy, in his letter supporting the nomination. “He has boldly and consistently taken difficult stands in the face of opposition and threats to wildlife habitats and populations. He has also been an effective ambassador for our profession and its constituencies, reliably building partnerships and collaboration whenever possible. Jim has been an effective spokesperson, both for sound science and science policy.”

Hays started his career with the Kansas state wildlife agency a part-time summer aide in 1977. He became a wildlife biologist, conservation specialist and conservation program specialist before retiring in 2007 to serve as conservation projects coordinator for The Nature Conservancy in Kansas.

“While his professionalism represented the best example of employee integrity and abilities, Jim’s easygoing and level-headed approach to sometimes very confrontational environmental issues made him effective in arenas where others would have easily failed,” Brunson wrote.

Hays joined TWS in 2000 and was an active member of the Central Mountains and Plains Section where he served two terms as vice-president.

Click here to see the complete list of award recipients.

David Frey is managing editor at The Wildlife Society. Contact him at dfrey@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about his article. Read more of David's articles here.

You can follow him on Twitter at @davidmfrey.


Share your thoughts on this article, and others, on our Facebook and Twitter pages.