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SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes (left) and Fisheries Biologist of the Year Tom Holman of Mississippi.
MOBILE, Ala. – Oct. 25, 2018 – The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) named Tom Holman the 2018 Fisheries Biologist of the Year at their annual meeting in Mobile this week. Holman has been a fisheries biologist for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) since 1988.
“Tom has provided unwavering leadership in fisheries research and management for Mississippi’s state agency for three decades,” SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes said. “His efforts and outstanding reputation are appreciated beyond the borders of the Magnolia State, and this award clearly demonstrates that.”
Holman’s career began with fisheries research in rivers and reservoirs. In 1991 he became the Central District biologist, responsible for managing sport fisheries in two large reservoirs, ten MDWFP-owned lakes and many miles of streams and rivers. In 2003 he began coordinating MDWFP’s hatcheries, boating access program and acquatic education program.
Today Holman is the Fisheries Bureau Sport Fish Restoration Coordinator, overseeing grant application, compliance and reporting processes for multiple bureau grants and university research grants. He coordinates 50-60 annual youth fishing events with the project leader.
“Tom has provided distinguished service to the agency, the public and the resource throughout his thirty-year career,” said MDWFP Executive Director Sam Polles.
Holman graduated from Auburn University with a master’s in fisheries management. He has been an active member of the American Fisheries Society for 30 years and served as president in 2010. He is developing an introductory fisheries management course for Alcorn State University, a historically black university in Mississippi.
The Association’s Biologist of the Year Awards are presented to two career biologists of state wildlife agencies, one each in the categories of wildlife and fisheries, who in the opinion of the SEAFWA Awards Committee have made outstanding contributions toward wildlife/fisheries conservation.
The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) is an organization whose members are the state agencies with primary responsibility for management and protection of the fish and wildlife resources in 15 states, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Award recipient Karl Miller (second from right) with SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes (second from left) and C. W. Watson Award Committee members Emily Jo Williams (left) and Kevin Dockendorf.
MOBILE, Ala. – Oct. 25, 2018 – The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) named the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Wheatley Distinguished Professor of Deer Management Karl Miller, Ph.D. the 2018 C. W. Watson Award winner at their annual meeting in Mobile this week. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Association.
“While the careers of many wildlife professionals focus on one general area, Dr. Miller’s accomplishments encompass white-tailed deer management practices, forest management impacts to wildlife habitat, and the education of future wildlife professionals,” said SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes.
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Director Bob Duncan chaired the award committee. Duncan stated, “It was evident in Dr. Miller’s nomination that his commitment to continued scientific investigation is coupled firmly with an understanding that practical, applicable management recommendations need to be determined and conveyed to the broader public. Though he has produced numerous scientific documents, his translation of research results into on-the-ground management guidelines has had the largest and most lasting impacts.”
One example of this effort is his co-edited book Quality Whitetails, which has been critical in shaping deer hunters’ and managers’ expectations in the Southeast. Miller was also involved in the development of the Quality Deer Management Association and remains an engaged member.
Beyond white-tailed deer, Miller has provided important contributions to forest management and to conservation of bats, songbirds, squirrels, amphibians and coyotes. He has worked closely with the forest industry, the U.S. Forest Service, state forestry commissions, nongovernmental organizations and private landowners across the Southeast to better understand how wildlife respond to various forestry activities.
Recognizing the lack of a field guide that could help students and professionals not only identify plants but also provide information on their wildlife values, Miller and Dr. James Miller published the award-winning Forest Plants of the Southeast and Their Wildlife Uses. The book is the selected course text for several universities and is used extensively by most wildlife biologists in the Southeast.
“When it comes to passing on his considerable knowledge, Dr. Miller’s courses are some of the most frequently praised among our undergraduate students,” said UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources Dean Dale Greene. “He is a skilled and demanding mentor who repeatedly demonstrates a keen ability to pass on knowledge to future generations.”
Having worked for the University of Georgia since 1985 in a number of positions, Miller has served as advisor for 57 master’s students and 19 Ph.D. students.
Miller serves as the sole scientist on the Board of Trustees for the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, an internationally acclaimed ecological research station in Georgia. He has received multiple Career Achievement awards from the QDMA and Southeast Deer Committee and the prestigious Caesar Kleberg Award for Excellence in Applied Wildlife Research from The Wildlife Society.
The C.W. Watson award is presented to the career individual who, in the opinion of the Award Committee, has made the greatest contribution to wildlife or fish conservation during the previous year or years. This award is presented jointly by the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society, the Southeastern Section of the Wildlife Society, and the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes (right) and Wildlife Officer of the Year Andy Barnes of Missouri.
MOBILE, Ala. – Oct. 25, 2018 – The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies named Andy Barnes the 2018 Colonel Bob Brantley Wildlife Officer of the Year at their annual meeting in Mobile this week. Barnes is a conservation officer for the Missouri Department of Conservation.
“Today’s conservation enforcement officers wear many hats. They assist other law enforcement officers with everything from search and rescue to manhunts. They are the primary face of our state agencies to the public. They mentor, educate, promote, serve and protect,” SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes said. “Agent Barnes readily meets all of these demands.”
Barnes is assigned to Lawrence County. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in wildlife conservation and management from Missouri State University and graduated the Agent Training Academy in 2006. He grew up in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
His knowledge of swift-water rescue techniques and equipment has made him an incredibly valuable member of the MDC and partner to other law enforcement agencies. He provided a demonstration at a four-states meeting for Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma fish and wildlife agencies.
Barnes takes public outreach seriously, engaging in youth hunting, shooting, and fishing events; hunter education programs; outdoor outreach programs; archery in the schools; and providing numerous talks to schools and media interviews.
“Agent Barnes’ efforts toward advancing the mission of the Department center on high quality law enforcement, outstanding public outreach and landowner services, and a strong work ethic focused on teamwork and cooperation,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “He is usually one of the first in the region to volunteer for special events or patrols, and his willingness to help others does not go unnoticed.”
This is the second time Agent Barnes has been recognized as Missouri’s Conservation Agent of the Year. He is the first agent to receive it more than once.
The Association’s Wildlife Officer of the Year Award is determined by nominations submitted to the head of law enforcement from the SEAFWA states and territories. In addition to direct law enforcement, an officer is selected based on community service, outreach and education, interdepartmental cooperation and innovations that may be utilized by other officers and departments.
SEAFWA 2018 Diversity Award.jpg – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer David Buggs presented the 2018 Diversity and Inclusion Award to representatives of the Alabama DCNR. (left to right: David Buggs, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Texas Parks and Wildlife; William Freeman, Conversation Enforcement Officer, Alabama Wildlife and Fresh Water Fisheries Division; Mrs. LaDonna James, (Widow of Alabama Conversation Enforcement Officer, Steve James) and Chuck Sykes Director, Alabama Wildlife and Fresh Water Fisheries Division)
MOBILE, Ala. – Oct. 25, 2018 – The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies named the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) as the 2018 SEAFWA Diversity and Inclusion Award winner at their annual meeting in Mobile this week. The ADCNR’s Collegiate Mentoring Program assists minority students who desire to work with fish and wildlife agencies in gaining meaningful hands on experience with different outdoor activities.
“Students majoring in various natural sciences and conservation fields are being introduced to hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, firearm safety and habitat management and participating in discussions on current issues facing conservation with practicing professionals,” SEAFWA President and ADCNR Director Chuck Sykes said. “We recognize the challenges that many minority students face in trying to find mentors and opportunities to engage in such experiences, and we want to make it easier for those interested in the conservation profession to do so.”
The program was initiated in 2016 at Tuskegee University. Since its inception, more than 80 students have participated in the program. Since 2017, the ADCNR Fisheries Division has reached more than 35,000 participants, more than 26,000 of whom are minorities, through career information sessions and community fishing events.
Participants are encouraged to engage with the SEAFWA Minorities in Natural Resources Committee (MINRC) as well. In support of the Collegiate Mentoring Program, ADCNR has established special opportunity hunt areas, an adult mentored hunt program and has helped pass legislation to reduce out of state license fees for college students.
“ADCNR, along with its nongovernmental organization partners, has been instrumental in providing educational equipment, training, opportunities to people who otherwise would not have much exposure to the outdoors,” said MINRC Chair David Buggs. “We commend their efforts and look forward to the growth of the program.”
Plans are in effect to implement additional Collegiate Mentoring Programs at Auburn University, Troy State University and Alabama A&M University.
The winner of the Diversity and Inclusion Award is chosen by a small group of volunteers with the SEAFWA MINRC and judged on their commitment to diversity and inclusion, the effectiveness of their programs, and any partnership developed and used to support their diversity and inclusion goals.
MOBILE, Ala. – Oct. 25, 2018 – The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) named Melynda Hickman the 2018 Wildlife Biologist of the Year at their annual meeting in Mobile this week. Hickman is a Wildlife Diversity Biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC).
“Melynda was selected by her peers for a clear dedication to promoting and conserving Oklahoma’s natural resources,” SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes said. “Her engagement in public education events and programs establish connections with future generations that all of our state agencies and the wildlife we manage depend upon.”
Hickman serves as ODWC’s Watchable Wildlife Program Leader and has implemented and continues to lead several important conservation education efforts in the state. For example, now it its 23rd year, the Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area bat watch program has allowed more than 10,000 people the unique opportunity to experience the nightly emergence of around one million Mexican free-tailed bats.
“Melynda is a tireless worker, a tremendous ambassador for the ODWC and well-respected among her peers and the public we serve,” said ODWC Director J. D. Strong. “In a profession that's often focused on the hook-and-bullet crowd, Melynda has a unique ability to energize folks about bats, bluebirds, butterflies and the importance of conserving ecosystems as a whole.”
Hickman has been engaged in the state-of-the-art multi-purpose educational facility at Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area in southwest Oklahoma from conception and construction through maintenance and operation. The center and its programs have given students the opportunity to immerse themselves in wetland education, and seasonal events hosted by the center include a monarch watch and tagging program, shorebird, raptor and grassland bird viewing events and an annual Hackberry Flat Day.
Hickman holds a B.S. in biology from Appalachian State University. She worked as an educator in the Norman public school system and the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History before beginning her career with ODWC.
MINRC Student Application 2018
The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) is an organization whose members are the state and federal agencies with primary responsibility for management and protection of the fish and wildlife resources in 16 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its objectives are to cultivate friendly relations and mutual understanding among officials engaged in natural resources conservation and to coordinate the programs they administer. SEAFWA also promotes public understanding and appreciation of the importance of conserving natural resources and encourages the management of fish and wildlife resources.
The Minorities in Natural Resources Conservation (MINRC) subcommittee is actively seeking minority students to participate in the 72st Annual Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Conference. The conference will be held on October 21, 2018 – October 24, 2018 in Mobile, Alabama. Students are expected to arrive on Saturday, October 20, 2018 no later than 12:00 p.m. to attend a welcome meeting and conference orientation with MINRC professionals. During the SEAFWA Conference, MINRC will conduct student workshops that will provide valuable career development information. Students will participate in round table discussions to share information on selected topics relevant to seeking employment in the natural resource field. A keynote speaker will motivate the students to continue their quest to reach their goals. There will also be opportunities for students to speak with professionals regarding employment prospects. For more information on the conference, go to http://www.seafwa.org/conferences/2018.
MINRC will pay for the following expenses:
Students are responsible for their means of transportation to and from their local airport and personal miscellaneous expenses.
Completed application and all materials are due September 07, 2018 and must be submitted electronically to email@example.com. Students will be notified during the week of September 24, 2018 to confirm their registration status, where and what time to report to the conference.
Nominations are being accepted for the 2018 C. W. Watson Award. The Award is given to the nominee who has contributed the most to any of the appropriate areas of fish and wildlife conservation in the southeast (please see http://www.seafwa.org/committees/c.w._watson_award__/ for award format). The Award can be given for a single accomplishment or a series of nonrelated items. According to Committee Chair, Bob Duncan, “The level of competition is so keen for this Award that the category of Career Achievement comes to my mind although the Award is not based on tenure or length of service”. This year’s C. W. Watson Award Committee is chaired by Director Bob Duncan representing SEAFWA Directors. Committee Members include Kevin J. Dockendorf representing the Southern Division of The American Fisheries Society and Emily Jo Williams representing the Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society.
One hundred years ago, wildlife biologists began determining which plant species provided food and cover for ducks and geese and then how to manage coastal wetlands to promote those plants. Within decades, that knowledge was the basis for managing water levels, water salinity, fire, and land acquisition on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. By the end of the last century, that knowledge also was being used to improve habitat for wading birds, shore birds and other associated species habitat and also in efforts to combat coastal wetland loss.
In 1905, a Florida game warden named Guy Bradley became the first wildlife law enforcement agent killed while performing his duties to protect the nation’s wildlife. Law enforcement agents like Bradley are essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation, from recovering endangered species to managing waterfowl and big game resources. In honor of Guy Bradley, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation established this lifetime achievement award to recognize individuals for their commitment and performance in the field of wildlife law enforcement.
The Guy Bradley Award will be presented to one state agency and one federal agency officer whose dedication and public service to protecting the nation's natural resources demonstrates outstanding leadership, excellence in implementation, knowledge, and actions that have advanced the cause of wildlife conservation.
Jay McAninch given 2017 SEAFWA Directors’ Special Recognition Award
LOUISVILLE, Kent. – Oct. 31, 2017 – The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) presented CEO and President of the Archery Trade Association Jay McAninch with a special recognition award at their annual meeting in Louisville this week. McAninch has led the ATA since 2000, and a hallmark of his tenure has been the rejuvenation of the relationship between industry and the state agencies.