Renowned duck researcher awarded for contributions

Nominations for the 2016 Special Recognition Service Award will be accepted through May 1. Visit the Special Recognition Service Award webpage by clicking on the link above, or visit to learn more about all TWS awards.

One would be hard-pressed to find an ecology or wildlife management textbook that does not cite Dr. Thomas Nudds or one of his students. Of his 100-some-odd publications, many have become seminal works within the wildlife community. He has won numerous awards over the years from various universities, ornithological organizations and conservation groups, including a TWS Wildlife Publication Award for best article in 1997.

Dr. Thomas Nudds. ©Matt Pieron

Dr. Thomas Nudds. ©Matt Pieron

It should come as no surprise then, that Nudds was honored with TWS’ 2015 Special Recognition Service Award at the 22nd Annual Conference in Winnipeg last fall.

“It honestly meant a lot,” Nudds said, joking that the secrecy of his nominator was a better way to be “creeped” on than via social media (or so he hears). “I would guess the usual suspects, a bunch of my old students, were behind it. If that’s the case, then perhaps they appreciated that… I tried to encourage critical thinking.”

The Special Recognition Service Award is given each year to those persons or groups which have made an outstanding contribution — long term or short — to the wildlife profession, the general areas of wildlife science, management or conservation, and/or a specific endeavor, species, region, community, ecosystem, etc.

In Nudds’ case, there is no shortage of outstanding contributions to any of these categories, but as a still-practicing emeritus professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, his most fulfilling deed has been passing on his knowledge through teaching and mentoring. “I don’t think I can call them ‘accomplishments,’ since the students were all accomplished in their own rights, but they are my greatest source of pride,” he said.

With two Ph.D. students and a postdoctoral fellow, Nudds isn’t done contributing to the profession or its next generation just yet. He and his students are currently working on projects in the Great Lakes and with at-risk species in agriculture- and timber-managed boreal forest ecosystems; as he puts it, “all of the fun and none of the committee work.”

Header Image: Dr. Thomas Nudds (left) accepts the Special Recognition Service Award from TWS incoming President Bruce Thompson (right) before the plenary discussion in Winnipeg Oct. 20, 2015.