President’s Podium: Awards matter

Two years ago during his presidency of TWS, Dr. Rick Baydack asked the question “Why does Wildlife Matter?” Rick guided us through that year with many perspectives on why wildlife matter. That effort put us in a better position to consider “Why does recognizing Wildlifers Matter?”

Members of The Wildlife Society who have been to the Annual Conference in the past several years have undoubtedly noticed substantial added focus on recognition of a wide array of recipients of TWS awards. Readers of the eWildlifer also see recognition of those recipients during the weeks following the conference. This is not a happenstance; it is the result of purposeful effort by The Wildlife Society to call attention to outcomes and successes of our members on behalf of wildlife, habitat, wildlife-associated recreationists, and general public interest in the natural world.


September 23-27, 2017
Albuquerque, NMDownload the 2017 Annual Conference
Call for Proposals

(workshops, symposia & panel discussions)
Deadline is March 10, 2017. Click here to submit proposals.

FEBRUARY 1, 2017
Deadline for Group Achievement Award & TWS Fellows nominations

Download the 2017 Conference
Call for Contributed Papers & Posters

Open Feb. 13- April 7, 2017

MARCH 1, 2017
Deadline for Wildlife Publications
Awards nominations

MAY 1, 2017
Deadline for all other TWS awards nominations,including the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award

I see this pattern as a successional sequence of motivation, service, accomplishments and recognition for professionals and cooperators in our midst. There is no doubt that TWS members are motivated, as shown by their education and science backgrounds, their commitment to conservation, and their dedication to a professional organization. Their service to wildlife and the profession is a natural extension of that motivation and is evidenced in conference content, publications, working group endeavors, projects on-the-ground, partnerships and many more daily activities of members. The accomplishments and successes are substantial, diverse and numerous, often in the face of significant financial, regulatory and human-interest challenges. Those outcomes and the associated challenges are described extensively in public news media and in the many TWS information outlets including eWildlifer, The Wildlife Professional, Wildlife Society Bulletin, The Journal of Wildlife Management, Wildlife Monographs and a wide array of newsletters and reports prepared by Sections, Chapters, Working Groups, other facets of The Wildlife Society operations.

Thus, it is fitting that recognition be an evident component in this succession of beneficial outcomes. That recognition is accomplished through The Wildlife Society Awards program.  Selection and recognition of award recipients supports multiple facets of The Wildlife Society Strategic Plan by promoting positive impacts on sustainability of wildlife populations, recognizing expertise in science-based wildlife management and conservation, supporting and encouraging members who apply science to wildlife conservation, and enhancing networking and communication with and among leaders in our profession. Those are four of the five strategic themes for The Wildlife Society, so it is evident that awards and recognition play a pivotal part in moving our profession and organization forward.

In fulfilling this strategic and dedicated emphasis on recognizing outstanding service to wildlife, The Wildlife Society has increased focus on nomination and selection processes, enhanced profile of the events surrounding recognition of award recipients, and expanded award opportunities. Each President of TWS ensures award committees are chaired by knowledgeable and dedicated professionals and are composed of members representing the spectrum of TWS (normally at least one member from each Section geographic area). The information about awards categories, criteria, and nomination processes has been expanded and is prominently available on the Society website. Further, there has been some fine-tuning of the nomination deadlines to better fit needs of nominators as well as the committees that will review all submissions. Recently, TWS added the Jay N. “Ding” Darling Memorial Award for Wildlife Stewardship Through Art as a new category to broaden the spectrum of activities subject to recognition while working with a dedicated cooperator to honor an important figure in wildlife conservation. We are now in just the second year of considering nominees for that award. And, when review work is completed on all nominations and recipients are selected, TWS has expanded member awareness of the recipients and their notable accomplishment as described earlier.

It is now up to YOU as a TWS member to play a part in this important process. All TWS Award categories and their associated deadlines are indicated below. Please take some time to consider your colleagues, your cooperators on the ground, other resource professionals, and citizens who make your work relevant and meaningful. Then, please consider preparing a nomination for an appropriate category (see details here). Recipients of award selections for this cycle will be recognized at the 24th Annual Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in late September 2017. Remember, this important strategic focus of The Wildlife Society can only be as good as your dedication to ensure there are nominees placed in consideration. Thanks for your attention to this request as these deadlines are approaching quickly.

Feb. 1, 2017

  • TWS Fellows Award
  • Group Achievement Award

March 1, 2017

  • Wildlife Publication Awards

May 1, 2017

  • Aldo Leopold Memorial Award
  • Caesar Kleberg Award For Excellence in Applied Wildlife Research
  • Chapter of the Year Award
  • Conservation Education Award
  • Distinguished Service Awards
  • Diversity Award
  • Donald H. Rusch Memorial Game Bird Research Scholarship
  • Excellence in Wildlife Education Award
  • Honorary Membership
  • Jay N. “Ding” Darling Memorial Award for Wildlife Stewardship Through Art
  • Jim McDonough Award
  • Special Recognition Service Award
  • Student Chapter Advisor of the Year
  • Student Chapter of the Year Award