THE WILDLIFE SOCIETY HONORS RONALD F. LABISKY

Ron LabiskyThe Wildlife Society’s highest honor, the Aldo Leopold Award, was bestowed on Ronald F. Labisky at the 16th Annual Conference in Monterey, California, on September 20, 2009. Dr. Labisky is currently Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida.

He was recognized for his contributions in the fields of wildlife research, natural resource conservation, policy, and administration. From the innovative urban wildlife program that he established in Florida, to his successful campaign to rescue funding for the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Units, to his many contributions to The Wildlife Society’s programs, subunits, and publications, Dr. Labisky’s accomplishments are numerous and noteworthy.

In presenting the award, President Tom Franklin noted that the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award is a most appropriate tribute to this extraordinary man who has made exceptional and lasting contributions to natural resource science and conservation.

 

Aldo Leopold Memorial Award

Dr. Ronald F. Labisky

The Wildlife Society’s highest honor, the Aldo Leopold Award, is reserved for an individual whose “well-established and distinguished career has been of undoubted significance to the cause of wildlife conservation.” There is no doubt that Dr. Ron Labisky’s career fits this description. He is a giant in the fields of wildlife research, natural resource conservation, policy, and administration.  From the innovative urban wildlife program that he established in Florida, to his successful campaign to rescue funding for the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Units, to his many contributions to The Wildlife Society’s programs, subunits, and publications, Dr. Labisky’s accomplishments are numerous and noteworthy.

Dr. Labisky is currently Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida.  He has a BS degree from South Dakota State University, and MS in Wildlife Management and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology-Zoology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

As an educator he has earned the respect and praise of his students for his capability to impart not only the academic basics but also the practical and applied aspects of wildlife management. Ron has won many awards as an outstanding teacher including several Teacher of the Year and Faculty Member of the Year awards.  He has served as major professor for 29 MS and PhD students, many who are now respected professionals.

As a research scientist he has made major contributions with a publication record of over 80 refereed publications. In addition to these Ron participated in local, regional and national symposia and meetings where he chaired, moderated or gave presentations.  He has served on the editorial board of the Wildlife Society Bulletin for 6 years, as a Consulting Editor for Wildlife Monographs, and as an Association Editor of the Journal of Wildlife Management for 6 years.

As an administrator Ron has had an illustrious career at the University of Florida.  
He has served at Acting Chair of the Department of Wildlife and Range Sciences, as well as Acting Director of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation.  As Acting Director, he acquired a Combined Cooperative Wildlife and Fishery Research Unit for the University of Florida.  For 6 years he was the Coordinator for the Wildlife Ecology Program.  Under his leadership the program he was responsible for grew and matured as one of the most respected, mainline wildlife programs in the country at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

In addition to a distinguished career as a wildlife professional in the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, the Illinois Natural History Survey, The Ohio State University, and the University of Florida, Ron was instrumental in working to ensure that wildlife science has sound financial support at the federal level. Thus, his lasting contribution to the field goes far beyond his own numerous scientific articles and graduate students. He has worked hard for all of us to secure a sound footing for wildlife and other natural resource disciplines in the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NAUFWP). Without his efforts on our behalf ‘working the Hill’ and testifying before Congress, the Fish and Wildlife Cooperative Research Units could be simply a memory rather than a living presence. He also was instrumental in helping to create NAUFWP and in chairing the National Fish and Wildlife Resources Research Council. In those efforts, he also ensured that continuing funding for wildlife and fisheries research was always ‘on the table’ as a viable topic for successful funding at the national level. It is safe to say that many of our programs would not exist today had Ron not put his shoulder to the wheel throughout the last 50 years on our behalf.

Throughout his exceedingly active career, Dr. Labisky has established and maintained meaningful and lasting professional and personal relationships with colleagues throughout the fish and wildlife community.  He is a valued colleague, mentor, and friend to innumerable wildlife professionals whom he has helped achieve successful careers in natural resources.

Dr. Labisky is a Certified Wildlife Biologist whose professional honors and awards from The Wildlife Society are impressive:  Special Recognition Service Award for “his leadership and efforts to gain expanded research funding for the wildlife profession”, TWS Fellow, and Honorary Member.  

The Aldo Leopold Memorial Award is a most appropriate tribute to this extraordinary man who has made exceptional and lasting contributions to natural resource science and conservation.  It is my honor and personal pleasure to present the 60th Aldo Leopold Memorial Award to my friend and esteemed colleague, Ronald F. Labisky.
 
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