TWS Award: Two wildlifers recognized for their service to the wildlife field

Seth Magle and Jeannine Fleegle earned the Special Recognition Service Award this year

The Wildlife Society recognizes Seth Magle and Jeannine Fleegle for their outstanding contributions to the wildlife profession.

Both members earned the 2023 Special Recognition Service Award. The award honors individuals or groups who have made a contribution, either in the long or short term, to the wildlife profession, wildlife conservation, management or science, or to a specific species, community, ecosystem or region.

Seth Magle, the founder and executive director for the Urban Wildlife Information Network, a global monitoring survey for multiple cities around the world, has contributed to the field of wildlife ecology and urban ecology.

“Dr. Magle’s visionary leadership and tireless dedication have had a profound impact on the study of urban wildlife and have led to significant advancements in our understanding of the ecological and societal implications of urbanization on wildlife, especially with regard to how landscape level factors among cities influence biodiversity within a city,” said TWS member Mason Fidino, an ecologist at the Lincoln Park Zoo, in his nomination letter.

Data from the Urban Wildlife Information Network that Magle has helped spearhead has helped researchers public more than 30 peer-reviewed articles. Not only has Magle grown the UWIN network to almost 50 participating cities around the world, but he has contributed to public outreach and education about urban wildlife by partnering with local communities, schools and other organizations.

Jeannine Fleegle also won the Special Recognition Service Award for her work on white-tailed deer research and management over the last two decades. She has specifically been dedicated to chronic wasting disease management and public outreach about the disease.

It’s not easy to specialize in a disease that’s so widespread and hard to stop from spreading. “A lot of people who work with it or have had to deal with it kind of throw up their hands up, like I can’t do anything, why bother?” said Fleegle, a wildlife biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. “And I said, no. I can’t do that. I won’t do that.”

Her work has spanned from Minnesota to Pennsylvania. In Minnesota, she developed the Department of Natural Resource’s statewide CWD surveillance program from 2002 to 2004. “I basically started from the ground up,” Fleegle said. “And I’m really I am really proud of that, because when I look at the program that Minnesota has now, it’s still there.”

In Pennsylvania, she continues to communicate to the public about CWD through presentations, media interviews, brochures, magazine articles and more.

Fleegle has “extraordinary skill in communicating complex science problems or ideas to the general public,” wrote TWS member Duane Diefenbach, leader of the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit with the U.S. Geological Survey, in a nomination letter. “Moreover, she conveys information in an interesting way.”

Fleegle was surprised when she learned she received the award, thinking she was opening an email about someone she nominated earning one. “I had no clue that I had been nominated,” she said. “For me, it doesn’t say as much about me as it says about what other people think of my work. That’s really where I’m so touched—that other people think I do good work.”

Header Image: Jeannine Fleegle with a captured elk. Image Credit: Courtesy Jeannine Fleegle