Aldo Leopold Memorial Award
Following Aldo Leopold's death in April 1948, there was much sentiment within The Wildlife Society for establishing an award medal in his memory.

President Storer instructed the Awards Committee to develop a proposal for presentation at the annual meeting in 1949. The report was approved by the membership and published in The Journal of Wildlife Management (13[3]:331, 1949).

The next year, sculptor Gifford MacGregor Proctor was commissioned to design and execute models for a suitable medal in bronze bearing a likeness of Aldo Leopold on the obverse.  Although the art work was not ready, the first medal was awarded to J.N. Darling at the Society's 1950 meeting in San Francisco.

Models were finished that year and dies were cast early in 1951. After the 1951 meeting, one medal was presented privately to Mrs. Aldo Leopold as a token of friendship and respect.

An engraved medal was sent (a year late) to J.N. Darling, and a second annual presentation was made to Carl D. Shoemaker.


  1. The nominee should have a well-established and distinguished career that has been of undoubted significance to the cause of wildlife conservation.
  2. The award is given only to an individual.
  3. Nominee must be living.
Committee Business
The award is made "for distinguished service to wildlife conservation," and it is the highest honor bestowed by The Wildlife Society.  Only one Leopold medal is given each year, and then only if a candidate considered by the Committee to be entirely worthy is available.

The significance of an individual's work should be the basic criterion, rather than age, position, or nationality.
The Committee receives and makes additions to a confidential file of material on candidates.

This file, principally of biographical notes, will be in the custody of the Chairman, who will be responsible for maintaining its confidential nature.

Any Society member may submit a nomination. Each nomination should include a one-page statement emphasizing the basis for determining "distinguished service to wildlife conservation," a detailed C.V., and no more than five supporting letters.

Six (6) copies of the nomination materials should be submitted to the Committee Chairman.  The Committee also will solicit information to build up a backlog of biographical sketches.  The Committee likewise may ask for confidential appraisals from outstanding people in the wildlife field.
If the current TWS President or any member of the Committee has been nominated for the award, the Chairman will not provide these nominations to the committee for consideration that year.
The Committee will not consider the nomination of any deceased member and should a nominee die during Committee deliberations, the Chairman will immediately remove that nomination package from further consideration. However, if an individual dies after being selected to receive the award, the award will be presented posthumously.
In selecting the recipient, the committee will use the following procedure: 
  1. each member of the Committee ranks in priority order his/her top five choices and provides justification for each of the fiv e rankings;
  2. these rankings with justifications are submitted to the Chairman who copies them and distributes them to each member of the Committee;
  3. each Committee member then has an opportunity to evaluate the opinions and thoughts of other members of the Committee and to reconsider his/her original ranking and to submit a revised ranking; and
  4. the Chairman then conducts a series of runoff polls until a finalist is chosen by majority.
The Chairman will vote only to break ties.The nominations of unsuccessful candidates will be retained for three years, reconsidered each year, and then discarded after the fourth review if the individual is not renominated. Candidates can be renominated.The decision of the committee is final and not subject to review.

By 1 June the Committee Chairman must notify the President and Executive Director of the recipient (name and address). The Committee Chairman should also notify nominators of unsuccessful candidates that their nominees were not selected and that the nominations will be retained and considered for 3 more years.

By 15 July the Committee Chairman will provide a two-three page presentation speech chronicling the highlights of the recipients career and accomplishments.

Presentation of Award
Presentation of this honor is made by the Society President at the Society’s awards ceremony at the Annual Conference.  The Executive Director will make sure that the recipient receives advance notice of his/her selection.  The Leopold Award carries with it automatic honorary membership in The Wildlife Society.
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